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213 Long. I'll stay with patience : but the time is | King. Call them forth quickly, we will do so. long.
Arm. Holla! approach.
Enter Holofernes, NATHANIEI, Moth, Cos
TARD, and others.
the one maintain'd by the owl, the other by the Ros. Oft have I heard of you, my lord Biron,
cuckoo. Ver, begin.
Spring. When daisies pied, and violets blue,
And lady-smocks all silver white,
And cuckoo-buds of yellow hue,
Do paint the meadows with delight,
The cuckoo then, on every tree,
Mocks married men, for thus sings he,
Cuckoo, cuckoo,-0 word of fear,
Unpleasing to á married ear!
When shepherds pipe on oaten straws,
And merry larks are ploughmen's clocks, Mirth cannot move a soul in agony.
When turtles tread, and rooks, and daws, Ros. Why, that's the way to choke a gibing spirit,
And maidens bleach their summer smocks,
The cuckoo, then, on every tree,
Mocks married men, for thus sings he,
Cuckoo, cuckoo, -0 word of fear,
Unpleasing to a married ear!
Winter. When icicles hang by the wall,
And Dick the shepherd blows his nail,
And Tom bears logs into the hall,
And milk comes frozen home in pail,
When blood is nipp'd, and ways be foul, Biron. A twelvemonth ? well, befall what will
Then nightly sings the staring owl,
To-whit, to-who, a merry note,
[To the King.
While greasy Joan doch keel the pote
When all aloud the wind doth blow,
And coughing drowns the parson's saw,
And birds sit brooding in the Snow,
And Marian's nose looks red and raw, King. Come, sir, it wants a twelvemonth and a When roasted crabs hiss in the bowl, day,
Then nightly sings the staring owl,
To-whit, to-who, a merry note,
While greasy Joan doth keel the pot.
Arm. The words of Mercury are harsh after the Arm. Sweet majesty, vouchsafe me,
songs of Apollo. You that way; we, this way. Prin. Was not ihat Hector ?
(Eseunt. Dum. The worthy knight of Troy.
Arm. I will kiss thy royal finger and take leave : In this play, which all the editors have concurred to I am a votary; I have vowed to Jaquenetta to hold censure, and some have rejected as unworthy of our the plough for her sweet love three years. But, poet, it must be confessed that there are many passages most esteemed greatness, will you hear the dialogue mean, childish, and vulgar ; and some which ought not that the two learned men have compiled, in praise to have been exhibited, as we are told they were, to a of the owl and the cuckoo ? it should have followed maiden queen. But there are scauered through the
whole many sparks of genius ; nor is there any play in the end of our show.
that has more evident marks of the hand of Shakspeare.
JOHNSON I Vehement, 2 Dear. See note on Twelfth Night, Act. v. Sc. 1.
3 Gerarde in his Herbal, 1597, says, that the flos cu. 4 This wild English apple, roasted before the fire, culi cardamine, &c. are called in English cuckoo floro- and put into ale, was a very favorite indulgence in old ers, in Norfolk, Canterbury bolls, and at Namptwich, umes. in Cheshire, Ladie-smocka.
5 To keel or kele, is to cool,
MERCHANT OF VENICE.
of Shakspeare's most perfect works : popular to tic performances, inentions among others - The Jet ar extraordinary degree, and calculated to produce the shown at the Bull, represe: ang the greediness of worldly most powerful effect on the stage, and at the ame time choosers, and the bloods minds of usurers. These a wooder of ingenuity and art for the reflecting critic. plays,' continues he, are good and sweete plays.' Shylock, the Jew, is one of the inconceivable master- It cannot be doubted that Shakspeare, as in other inpieces of characterisation of which Shakspeare alone stances, availed himself of this ancient piece. Mr. furnishes us with examples. It is easy for the poet and Douce observes, 'that the author of the old play of The the player to exhibit a caricature of national sentiments, Jew, and Shakspeare in his Merchant of Venice, have modes of speaking, and gestures. Shylock, however, not confined themselves to one source only in the conis every thing but
a common Jew; he possesses a very struction of their plot, but that the Pecorone, the Gesta determinate and original individuality, and yet we per. Romanorum, and perhaps the old ballad of Gernuluer ceive a slight touch of Judaism in every thing which he have been respectively resorted to.' It is however most says or does. We imagine we hear a sprinkling of the probable that the original play was Jewish pronunciation in the mere written words, as we
which con sometimes still find it in the higher classeg, notwith tajned both the main incidents; and that Snakspeare standing their social refinement. In tranquil situations expanded and improved them, partly from his own gewhat is foreign to the European blood and Christian sen- nius, and partly as to the bond from the Pecorone, siments is less perceivable, but in passion the national where the coincidences are too manifest to leave any stamp appears more strongly marked. All these inimi. doubt. Thus the scene being laid at Venice; the resitable niceties the finished art of a great actor can alone dence of the lady at Belmont; the introduction of the properly express. Shylock is a man of information, person bound for the principal; the double infraction of even a thinker in his own way; he has only not dis- ihe bond, viz. the taking more or less than a pound of covered the region where human feelings dwell : his flesh, and the shedding of blood, together with the after morality is founded on the disbelier in goodness and incident of the ring, are common to the novel and the magnanimity. The desire of revenging the oppressions play. The whetting of the knife might perhaps be caken and humiliations suffered by his nation is, after avarice, from the ballad of Gernutus. Shakspeare was likewise his principal spring of action. His hate is naturally di- indebted to an authority that could not have occurred to rected chiefly against those Christians who possess truly the original author of the play in an English form; thin Christian sentiments : the example of disinterested love was Silvayn's Orator, as translated by Munday. From of our neighbour seems to him the most unrelenting per that work Shylock's reasoning before the senate is evi. secution of the Jews. The letter of the law is his idol; dently borrowed; but at the same time it has been most he refuses to lend an ear to the voice of mercy, which skilrúlly improved. speaks to him from the mouth of Portia with heavenly There are two distinct collections under the title of eloquence : he insists on severe and inflexible justice, Gesta Romanorum. The one has been frequently and it at last recoils on his own head. Here he becomes printed in Latin, but never in English; there is how a symbol of the general history of his unfortunate na. ever a manuscript version, of the reign of Henry the Lion. The melancholy and self-neglectful magnanimity Sixth, among the Harleian MSS. in the British Museum of Antonio is affectingly sublime. Like a royal mer. This collection seems to have originally furnished the chant, he is surrounded with a whole train of noble story of the bond. The other Gesta has never been friends. The contrast which this forms to the selfish printed in Latin, but a portion of it has been several times cruelty of the usurer Shylock, was necessary to redeem printed in English. The earliest edition referred to by the honour of human nature. The judgment scene with Warton and Doctor Farmer, is by Wynken de Worde, which the fourth act is occupied is alone a perfect dra- without date, but of the beginning of the sixteenth cen. ma, concentrating in itself the interest of the whole. The tury. It was long doubled whether this early edition knot is now untied, and according to the common idea existed, but it has recently been described in the Retrothe curtain might drop. But the poet was unwilling to spective Review. The latter part of the thirty-second dismiss his audience with the gloomy impressions which history in this collection may have furnished the incithe delivery of Antonio, accomplished with so much dif- dents of the caskets. ficulty, contrary to all expectation, and the punishment But as many of the incidents in the bond story of the of Shylock, were calculated to leave behind: he has Merchant of Venice have a more striking resem. therefore added the fifth act by way of a musical after. blance to the first tale of the fourth day of the Pecorone piece in the play itself. The episode of Jessica, the fu. of Ser Giovanni, this part of the plot was most probably gitive daughter of the Jew, in whom Shakspeare has taken immediately from thence. The story may have contrived to throw a disguise of sweetness over the na- been extant in English in Shakspeare's time, though it tional features, and the artifice by which Portia and her has not hitherto been discovered. companion are enabled to rally their newly married The Pecorone was first printed in 1550 (not 1558, as husbands supply him with materials.”
erroneously stated by Mr. Steevens,) but was written “The scene
opens with the playful prattling of two almost two centuries before. lovers in a summer moonlight,
After all, unless we could recover the old play of The "When the sweet wind did gently kiss the trees.' Jew mentioned by Gosson, it is idle to conjecture how It is followed by soft music and a rapturous eulogy on far Shakspeare improved upon the plot of that piece. this powerful disposer of the human mind and the The various materials which may have contributed to world; the principal characters then make their appear. furnish the complicated plot of Shakspeare's play are ance, and after an assumed dissension, which is ele- to be found in the Variorum Editions, and in Mr. Douce's gantly carried on, the whole ends with the most exhila- very interesting work. rating mirth.”
alone places the date of the composition of this play in 1599, Chalmers supposed it to have been written in “ The Orator, handling a hundred several Dis. 1597, and to this opinion Dr. Drake gives his sanction. courses, in form of Declamations, &c. written in French
It appears, from a passage in Stephen Gosson's School by Alexander Silvayn, and Englished by L. P. (Lazaof Abuse, &c. 1579, that a play comprehending the dis-rus Pyol, i. e. Anthony Munday,) London, Printed by tinct plots of Shakpeare's Merchant of Venice had been Adam Islip, 1596.” Declamation 95. Or a Jew who extuibhed long before be commenced writer. Gosson, I would for his debt have a pound of desh of a Christian