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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.
} Suitors to Portia.
Duke of Venice.
Servants to Portia.
Portia, a rich Heiress.
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. 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 Personæ 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,
Salar. Your mind is tossing on the ocean ;
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. VOL. III.
Salan. Believe me, sir, had I such venture forth, The better part of my affections would Be with my hopes abroad. I should be still Plucking the grass, to know where sits the wind; Peering in maps, for ports, and piers, and roads ; And every object, that might make me fear Misfortune to my ventures, out of doubt, Would make me sad. Salar.
My wind, cooling my broth, Would blow me to an ague, when I thought What harm a wind too great might do at sea. I should not see the sandy hour-glass run, But I should think of shallows and of flats; And see my wealthy Andrews dock'd in sand, Vailing her high-top* lower than her ribs, To kiss her burial. Should I go to church, And see the holy edifice of stone, And not bethink me straight of dangerous rocks? Which touching but my gentle vessel's side, Would scatter all her spices on the stream ; Enrobe the roaring waters with my silks ; And, in a word, but even now worth this, And now worth nothing? Shall I have the thought To think on this; and shall I lack the thought, That such a thing, bechanc'd, would make me sad ? But, tell not me; I know, Antonio 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.
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. 4 Vailing her high top-] i. e. lowering.
Salan. Why then you are in love.
Fye, fye! Salan. Not in love neither? Then let's say, you
are sad, Because you are not merry: and 'twere as easy For you, to laugh, and leap, and say, you are merry, Because you are not sad. Now, by two-headed
Janus, Nature hath fram'd strange fellows in her time : Some that will evermore peep through their eyes, And laugh, like parrots, at a bag-piper : And other of such vinegar aspect, That they'll not show their teeth in way of smile, Though Nestor swear the jest be laughable.
Enter BASSANIO, LORENZO, and GRATIANO.
Salan. Here comes Bassanio, your most noble
kinsman, Gratiano, and Lorenzo: Fare
you We leave you now with better company. Salar. I would have staid till I had made you
Ant. Your worth is very dear in my regard.
Salar. Good-morrow, my good lords.
Ereunt SALARINO and SALANIO. Lor. My lord Bassanio, since you have found