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NUMBER XXXIX. ,
I SLIGHTLY hinted in my former paper that the Jew of Venice would not turn out to be the proper offspring of Shakspeare, and as the researches of his commentators have settled this point so clearly against the legitimacy of Shylock, I may leave it with the reader's judgment to decide, whether he formed his drama immediately from the Pecorone of Fiorentina, borrowing the incident of the caskets from Boccace; or at second hand, as some suppose, from an old ballad formed upon that story.
But I had a further object in the hint I then dropped, suggested to me by the perusal of a very curious old novel written by Thomas Nashe, and published in 1594, entitled The Unfortunate Travel. ler, or the Life of Jacke Wilton. The hero is described to be one of the court.pages belonging to Henry the Eighth, and is made to play a number of roguish pranks in the camp of that monarch before Tournay. Ile travels to Munster in Germany, where he falls in with John of Leyden the famous fanatic, and is present at his defeat by the Imperi. alists; here he meets Lord Henry Howard, Earl of Surry, and accompanies him to Venice, passing through Wittenberg, where he has an interview with Luther and Carlostadius; from thence he re. pairs to Rome, where he relates a series of strange adventures, by which he is thrown into the hands of a Jew named Zadock, physician to Pope Cle. ment VIII, and having forfeited his life to him by the law, the Jew gets the person of Jacke Wilton in
limbo, with an intent to anatomize him, and whilst he is dicting and bleeding him for that purpose, the Marchioness of Mantua, the Pope's mistress, spies him out from her balcony, and being smitten with his appearance, contrives to get him out of Zadock's hands, by persuading his holiness to banish all the Jews from Rome and confiscate their effects, upon a charge she sets up against them.
With this intelligence, Zadock is accosted by a brother Jew called Zachary, who comes running to him in sackcloth and ashes, presently after his goods were confiscated, and tells him how he is served, and what decree is coming out against them all.'
I have made an extract of this interview between Zadock and Zachary, which the reader will observe by the date was published before Shakspeare wrote his Merchant of Venice, and as the critics seem agreed that he was conversant in other works of Nashe, it is highly probable that this history of Jacke Wilton had also been in his hands: I do not mean to infer that Shakspeare took his character of Shylock from this of Nashe's Zadock, for there is nothing that can warrant such an inference; but I shall submit the following dialogue as an extraor. dinary specimen of strong impassioned writing, which though it will not stand by Shakspeare's scene between Shylock and Tubal in dramatic terse. ness, has nevertheless a force of expression, that will bear a comparison with that or any other passage in our old dramatic writers.
Zachary having made his report as above, the author thus proceeds to the introduction of his chief speaker Descriptions stand by! here is to be expressed the fury of Lucifer, when he was turned over heaven's har for a wrangler : there is a toad-fish, which taken out of the water swells
more than one would think his skin could hold, and bursts in his face that touches him ; so swelled Zadock, and was ready to burst out of his skin, and shoot his bowels like chain shot full in Za. chary's face, for bringing him such baleful tidings; his eyes glared and burned like brimstone and aqua vitæ set on fire in an egg-shell, his very nose light. ened glow-worms; his teeth cracked and grated together like the joints of a high building rocking like a cradle, when as a tempest takes her full butt against her broadside: he swore and curst, and said
6 These be they that worship that crucified God of Nazareth ; here is the fruits of their new-found gospel ; sulphur and gunpowder carry them all quick to Gehennah! I would spend my soul wil. lingly to have this tripleheaded Pope, with all his sin-absolved whores, and oil-greased priests, born like a black saint on the devil's backes in procession to the pit of perdition. Would I might sink pre. sently into the earth, so I might blow up this Rome, this whore of Babylon, into the air with my breath! If I must be banished, if these heathen dogs will needs rob me of my goods, I will poison their springs and conduit-heads, whence they receive their water all about the city. I will 'tice all the young children in my house that I can get, and cutting their throats, barrel them up in powdering beef tubs, and so send them to victual the Pope's gallies. Ere the officers come to extend, I will bestow an hundred pounds on a dole of bread, which I will cause to be kneaded with scorpion's oil, that may kill more than the plague. I will hire them that make their wafers, or sacramentary Gods, to mix them after the same sort, so in the zeal of their superstitious religion shall they languish and drop like carrion. If there be ever a blasphemous conjurer that can call the winds from their brazen caves, and make the clouds travel before their time, I will give him the other hundred pounds to disturb the heavens a wbole week together with thunder and lightning, if it be for nothing but to sour all the wines in Rome, and turn them to vinegar: as long as they have either oil or wine, this plague feeds but pinchingly upon them.'
Zadock, Zadock,' said Zachary, cutting hice off, thou threatenest the air, whilst we perish here on earth: it is the Countess Juliana, the Marquis of Mantua's wife, and no other, that hath complotted our confusion; ask not how, but insist on my words, and assist in revenge.'
As how, as how?' said Zadock, shrugging and shrubbing : • More happy than the patriarchs were I, if crushed to death with the greatest torments Rome's tyrants have tried, there might be quintes, senced out of me one quart of precious poison. I have a leg with an issue, shall I cut it off, and from this fount of corruption extract a venom worse than any serpent's? If thou wilt, I will go to a house that is infected, where catching the plague, and having got a running sore upon me, I will come and deliver her a supplication, and breathe upon her, when I am perfected with more putrefaction.'
Zadock in conclusion is taken up and executed, and the description of his tortures is terrible in the extreme; every circumstance attending them is mi. nutely delineated in colours full as strong as the
I persuade myself the reader will not be displeased, if I lay before him one extract more, in which he ridicules the affected dress and manners of the travelled gentlemen of his day: if we contem. plate it as a painting of two hundred years standing, I think it must be allowed to be a very curious sketch.
6 What is there in France to be learned more than in England, but falsehood in friendship, perfect slo. venry, and to love no man but for my pleasure? I have known some that have continued there by the space of half a dozen years, and when they come home, they have hid a little weerish lean face under a broad French hat, kept a terrible coil with the dust in the street in their long cloaks of grey paper, and spoken English strangely. Nought else have they profited by their travel, but to distinguish the true Bourdeaux grape, and know a cup of neat Gascoigne wine from wine of Orleans; yea and perad. venture this also, to esteem of the p-sas a pimple, to wear a velvet patch on their face, and walk me. lancholy with their arms folded.
From Spain what bringeth our traveller ? A skull-crowned hat of the fashion of an old deep porringer; a diminutive alderman's ruff with short strings, like the droppings of a man's nose ; a closebellied doublet coming down with a peake behind as far as the crupper, and cut off before by the breast-bone like a partlet or neckercher; a wide pair of gascoynes, which ungathered would make a couple of women's riding-kirtles ; huge hangers, that have half a cow-hide in them; a rapier that is lineally descended from half a dozen dukes at the least: let his cloak be as long or as short as you will; if long, it is faced with Turkey grogeran ravelled ; if short, it hath a cape like a calf's tongue, and is not so deep in his whole length, nor so much cloth in it I will justify as only the standing cape of a Dutchman's cloak. I have not yet touched all, for he hath in either shoe as much taffaty for his tyings, as would serve for an ancient; which serveth