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OBSERVATIONS.

THE reader will find an epitome of the novel, from which the story of this play is supposed to be taken, at the conclusion of the notes. It should however be remembered, that if our poet was at all indebted to the Italian novelists, it must have been through the medium of some old translation, which has hitherto escaped the researches of his most industrious editors.

It appears from a passage in Stephen Gosson’s School of Abuse, &c. 1579, that a play, comprehending the distinct plots of this, had been exhibited before Shakspeare’s, viz. “The Jew shown at the Bull, representing the greediness of worldly Choosers, and the bloody Minds of Usurers.” “These plays, says Gosson, (for he mentions others with it) are goode and sweete playes, &c.” It is therefore not improbable that Shakspeare new-wrote his piece, on the model already mentioned, and that the elder performance, being inferior, was permitted to drop silently into oblivion. STE Evens.

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. PERSONS REPRESENTEP),

Duke of Venice.
Prince of Morocco,
Prince of Arragon,
ANTon Io, the merchant of Venice :
BAss AN 19, his friend.

SALANIo,

SALARINo, joriends to Antonio and Bassanio.
GRATIANo,

LoRENzo, in love with Jessica.
SHYLock, a Jew :

TUBAL, a Jew, his friend.
LAUNCE Lot Gobbo, a clown, servant to Shylock.
Old GoB Bo, father to Launcelot.
SALER Io, a messenger from Venice.
LEoN ARDo, servant to Bassanio.

BALTHAzAR, -
STEPHANo, }servants to Portia.

3suitors to Portia.

Port 1A, a rich heiress.
NER 1ss A, her waiting-maid.
JEss Ic A, daughter to Shylock.

Magnificoes of Venice, Officers of the Court of Justice, Jailer, Servants, and other Attendants.

SCE.WE—ftartly at Venice, and fartly at Belmont, the seat of Portia, on the continent.

ACT I.

SCENEI.- Venice. A Street. Enter ANT on Io, SALARINo, and SALAN Io.

.Antonio.

Is sooth, I know not why I am so sad ;
It wearies me ; you say, it wearies you ;
But how I caught it, found it, or came by it,
What stuff 'tis made of, whereof it is born,
I am to learn ;
And such a want-wit sadness makes of me,
That I have much ado to know myself.

Sal. Your mind is tossing on the ocean ;
There, where your argosiesi with portly sail,—
Like signiors and rich burghers of the flood,
Or, as it were the pageants of the sea,—
Do overpeer the petty traffickers, -
That curt’sy to them, do them reverence,
As they fly by them with their woven wings.

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
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.

Sal. My wind, cooling my broth,
Would blow me to an ague, when I thought
What harm a wind too great might do at sea.

[1], Argosies—A name given in our author's time to ships of great burthen, probably galleons, such as the Spaniards use in their West India trade. JOH. [2] By holding up the grass, or any light body, that will bend by a gentle blast, the direction of the wind is found.—“This way I used in shooting. Betwixt the markes was an open place, there I take a fethere, or a lyttle light graise, and so learned how the wind stood.” Ascham. JOHNSON

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