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Duke of VENICE.
Prince of Morocco; } Suitors to Portia.
ANTHONIO, the Merchant of Venice:
Friends to Antonio and Bassanio.
Servants to Portia.
PORTIA, a rich Heiress:
Magnificoes of Venice, Officers of the Court of Justice, Jailer,
Servants, and other Attendants.
Scene, partly at Venice, and partly at Belmont,
the Seat of Portia, on the Continent.
MERCHANT OF VENICE.
Enter ANTHONIO, SOLARINO, and SALANIO.
Anth. In sooth, I know not why I am so sad: (1) It wearies me. You say it wearies you ; But how I caught it, found it, or came by it,
(1) In each of the two plays comprized in the last volume, we had an example of a transformation, in the characters of Hamlet in the first, and of Kent in the second. In this there is an allusion to another transformation, in the opening of the play, perfectly similar to that in Hamlet; for Anthonio has the same prototype in the moon as Hamlet himself; and, when in his proper character (i. e. before he may be considered as having grown sad by his losses), he is to be taken as representing the middlemost of the three outlines of Hudibras; but when changed, (or marvellously changed, as it is expressed hereafter,) he is to be tben ascribed to the hithermost or darkest shadowed of those three outlines. This two-fold character of Anthonio is particularly pointed to, presently, by Solarino's addressing to him the singular exclamation, by two-headed Janus. These two heads are drawn in fig. 79, ante,
What stuff 'tis made of, whereof it is born,
Sal. Your mind is tossing on the ocean ;
Sola. Believe me, sir, had I such venture forth, The better part of my affections would Be with my hopes abroad. I should be still [(3) Plucking the grass to know where sits the wind; Peering in maps for ports, and piers, and roads ;
(2) The Argosies are the larger ships, of which the shadowed part of the moon exhibits the similitude, as repealedly observed in former notes, and in one instance drawn in fig. 72; the petty traffickers are the smaller spots of shadow, which (as it were, on the sea) are scattered over the light part of the moon.
(3) I take Solarino to be the same as Reynoldo in Hamlet, drawn in fig. 65. The -espressions plucking the grass and peering in maps, are to be referred to the apparent actions of such his prototype in the moon.
His name, as well as that of Reynoldo, may involve in its etymology a relation to the Greek word, povos, a nose; that feature being very strongly marked in the face of the figure.
And every object that might make me fear
Sa.. My wind, cooling my broth, (4)
(4) My wind cooling my broth. This phrase may shew Salanio to be the same as Hamlet's Polonius, drawn in fig. 56. He has bis name perhaps from sal, salt; for his prototype, with the tongue out, seems to be tasting something of that kind, and has its face stretched out over what resembles a bowl or bason, with a large spoon in it.