صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني



(1) SCENE I.

In my school-days, when I had lost one shaft,
1 shoi his fellow of the self-same flight
The self-same way, with more advised watch,
To find the other forth ; and by adventuring both

I oft found both.] This expedient for discovering a stray shaft is probably as old as archery. It was prescribed by P. Crescentius in his “Treatise de Agricultura,” lib. x. cap. xxviii., and is mentioned frequently by the writers of our author's age. Thus in Decker's « Villanies discovered by Lanthorne and Candlelight :”—“And yet I have seene a Creditor in Prison weepe when he beheld the Debtor, and to lay out money of his owne purse to free him : he shot a second arrow to find the first,4to. 1616. Again, in Howel's Letters (“Epistolæ Ho-Eliana"):-“I sent you one of the 3d current, but it was not answered : sent another of the 13th, like a second arrow to find out the first, but I know not what's become of either: I send this to find out the other two; and if this fail, there shall go no more out of my Quiver.” Letter XV., 19 July, 1626. And in Taylor the Water Poet's “Kicksey Winsey, or, a Lerry Come Twang,” folio 1630, p. 41:

“ I, like a boy that shooting with a bow

Hath lost his shaft where weedes and bushes growe:
Who having search'd, and rak'd, and scrap'd, and tost,
To find his arrow that he late hath lost;
At last a crotchet comes into his braine,
To stand at his first shooting place againe:
Then shoots and lets another arrow flye,
Neere as he thinkes his other shaft may lye:
Thus ventring, he perhaps findes both or one,
The worst is, if he lose both, he findes none."

Newes from Rome of two mightie Armies as well footemen as horsmen," 1607, is a piece entitled, “Caleb Shilock his prophesie for the yeere 1607," which begins as follows:* Be it knowne unto all men, that in the yeare 1607, when as the moone is in the watrye signe, the world is like to bee in great danger; for a learned Jew named Caleb Shilock doth write that, in the foresaid yeere, the sun shall be covered with the dragon in the morning, from five of the clocke untill nine, and will appeare like fire : therefore it is not good that any man do behold the same, for by beholding thereof, hee may lose his sight.” Although pretending to be a prophecy for the year 1607, this edition was a reprint of a much older copy, the date of the predicted event being altered, to give interest to the publication.

(4) SCENE III.-If I can catch him once upon the hip.] That is, at adrantage. The phrase is taken from wrestling, and in its metaphorical sense is frequently found in the old authors. Thus Sir John Harington, in his Translation of Orlando Furioso, Booke XLVI., Stanza 117:

Full oft the valiant knight his hold doth shift,

And with much prettee sleight the same doth slippe;
In fine he doth applie one special drift,
Which was to get the Pagan on the hippe;
And having caught him right, he doth him lift,
By nimble sleight, and in such wise doth trippe;
That downe he threw him, and his fail was such,

His head-piece was the first that ground did tuch." And in Bishop Andrewes' “Sermon preached before the King's Majesty at Whitehall, 1617:"_“If he have us at the advantage, on the hip as we say, it is no great matter then to get service at our hands.” For additional examples of the use of this phrase, see “Notes and Queries," Vol.

375, and Mr. Dyce's “Remarks on Knight's and Collier's Shakespeare.

VII., P:

[ocr errors]

(2) SCENE II.-The county Palatine.] It is possible that Shakespeare, with his fondness of allusion to contemporaneous events and characters, referred here to an individual whose career would be familiar enough to the public of that period—the Polish Palatine of Siradz, Albert Laski, a nobleman of immense possessions, who visited England in 1583, and was received by Queen Elizabeth with unusual distinction. The prodigality of this Polonian is said to have been so extraordinary, that in a few years he dissipated the greater part of his enormous fortune, and was fain to become the disciple of the notorious alchymists, Dee and Kelly, in the hope of discovering the philosopher's stone. In company with these men and their families, he returned to his palace near Cracow, and there began operations for transmuting iron into gold. In these processes, the already deeply mortgaged estates of the infatuated Count were in a short time swallowed up; and it was not until ruin stared him in the face, that the credulous dupe awoke from his delusions, and dismissed the charlatans in time to save himself from utter beggary.

(5) SCENE III.-In the Rialto.] There were in ancient Venice three distinct places properly called Rialto; namely, the island on the farther side of the Grand Canal; the Exchange erected on that island ; and the Ponte di Rialto, which connected the island with St. Mark's Quarter. The first of these places, according to Daru, received the name of Rialto, on account of its convenience to fishermen, its height, its contiguity to the sea, and its situation in the centre of a basin. If this conjecture be accurate, the original name was perhaps Riva Alta, a high bank-shore, or Rilevato, an elevated margin ; since the island was the highest, and probably the oldest, of those in the lagune to which the Veneti fled. Early in the fifth century the church of San Jacopo was erected on this spot, near the fish-market; and adjoining to it were built the Fabbricche, a series of edifices connected by arcades, employed as warehouses and custom-houses; in the open space opposite to which was held the Exchange. Sabellicus, who wrote on Venetian history in the seventeenth century, states that this “most noble piazza" was crowded from morning to night. The part where the merchants transacted the most weighty and important affairs was near the double portico at the end of the piazza, opposite San Jacopo's church, where the Banco Giro was established. The following is Coryat's description of the Rialto, or

(3) SCENE III.--Shylock.] This name, it has been thought, was derived from the Jewish appellation Scialac, borne in the poet's day by a Maronite of Mount Libanus. It may, however, have been an Italian name, Scialocca, the change of which into Shylock was natural. At all events, it was a name current among the Jews, for, at the end of an extremely rare tract, called “A Jewes Prophesy, or

Exchange, as it appeared when he visited Venice :—“The Rialto which is at the farthest side of the bridge as you come from St. Mark's, is a most stately building, being the Exchange of Venice, where the Venetian gentlemen and the merchants doe meete twice a day, betwixt eleven and twelve of the clocke in the morning, and betwixt five and sixe of the clocke in the afternoone. This Rialto is of a goodly height, built all with bricke as the palaces are, adorned with many faire walkes or open galleries that I have before mentioned, and hath a pretty quadrangular court adjoining to it. But it is inferior to our Exchange in London, though indeede there is a farre greater quantity of building in this than in ours.”—Coryat's Crulities (1611), p. 169.

nity of the Jews dwelleth together, which is called the Ghetto, being an iland: for it is inclosed round about with water. It is thought there are of them in all five and sixe thousand. They are distinguished and discerned from the Christians by their habites on their heads : for some of thein doe weare hats and those redde, only those Jewes that are borne in the Westerne parts of the world, as in Italy, &c., but the easterne Jewes, being otherwise called the Levantine Jewes which are borne in Hierusalem, Alexandria, Constantinople, &c., weare turbents upon their heads, as the Turkes do: but the difference is this ; the Turkes weare white, the Jewes yellow. By that word turbent I understand a rowle of fine linnen wrapped together upon their heads, which serveth them instead of hats, whereof many have bin often worne by the Turkes in London."-CORYAT's Crudities (ed. 1611, p. 130). As Shylock was a Levantine Jew, he should be represented with a yellow turban or bonnet.

(6) My Jewish gaberdine.] A gaberiline was a large loose cloak, and it does not appear that this habiliment, as worn by the Jews, was in any respect different from that in ordinary use, though Mr. Halliwell observes, “According to a memorandum, the source of which is unknown to me, Shylock 'should assuredly wear a large red cross, embroidered upon his shoulder, the senate of Venice having passed an edict to mortify the Jews-many of whom quitted their territory to avoid its infliction—that no Israelite should appear upon the Rialto without the emblem or badge above specified.'” The distinguishing peculiarity in the costume of the Jews, as we learn from Coryat, was the colour of their head gear; those born in the western part of the world being compelled to wear red hats, and those in the east yellow turbans, or bonnets :-“I was at the place where the whole frater

(7) SCENE III.-If he should break his day.) To break his day was the current expression formerly to imply a breach of contract. Every day he surveighs his grounds and the buttals therof, lest there be any incroaching or any thing remov'd.


If any debtor misse his day but a minute, hee is sure to pay soundly for forbearance : besides usurie upon usury, if he continue it." -Characters of Theophrastus, translated by HEALEY. So, also, in * The Fayre Mayde of the Exchange," 1607, Act II. Sc. 2:

“ If you do break your day, assure yourself,

That I will take the forfeit of your bond."

(1) SCENE I.-Lead me to the caskets. The incident of the caskets is generally believed to have been derived, directly or remotely, from a story in the Latin “Gesta Romanorum,” which relates that a certain king of Apulia sent his daughter to be married to the only son of Anselmo the emperor, and that the ship in which she sailed was wrecked, and all on board lost except the princess. After undergoing some incredible adventures, the lady reaches the court of the emperor, her destined father-in-law :

" Then was the emperour right glad of her safety and comming, and had great compassion on her, saying : Ah faire lady, for the love of my sonne thou hast suffered much woe, neverthelesse if thou be worthie to be his wife, soone shall I prove.

“And when he had thus said, he commanded to bring forth three vessels, the first was made of pure gold, beset with precious stones without, and within full of dead mens bones, and thereupon was ingraven this posey : Who so chooseth me shall finde that he deserveth.

“ The second vessel was made of fine silver, filled with earth and wormes, and the superscription was thus : Who so chooseth me shall find that his nature desireth.

“The third vessel was made of lead, full within of precious stones, and the superscription, Who so chooseth me shall finde that God hath disposed to him.

* These three vessels the emperour shewed to the maiden and said, Lo, here daughter, these be faire vessels, if thou choose one of these, wherein is profit to thee and to other, then shalt thou have my sonne : but if thou choose that wherein is no profit to thee nor to none other, soothly thou shalt not marrie him.

* When the mayden saw this, she lift up her hands to God and said : Thou Lord that knowest all things, grant me grace this houre so to choose, that I may receive the emperours sonne. And with that shee beheld the first vessell of gold, which was engraven, and read the superscription, Who so chooseth me, &c. saying thus: Though

this vessel be full precious and made of pure gold, neverthelesse I know not what is within, and therefore my deare lord, this vessel will I not choose.

“And then shee beheld the second vessel that was of pure silver, and read the superscription, Who so chooseth mee shall finde that his nature desireth. Thinking thus within her selfe, If I choose this vessel, what is within it I know not, but well I wot there shall I finde that nature desireth, and my nature desireth the lust of the flesh, therefore this vessel will I not choose. When she had seene these two vessels, and given an answere as touching them, shee beheld the third vessell of lead, and read the superscription, Who so chooseth mee, shall finde that God hath disposed Thincking within her selfe this vessel is not passing rich, nor throughly precious: neverthelesse, the superscription saith : Who so chooseth mee, shall finde that God hath disposed: and without doubt God never disposeth any harme, therefore now I will choose this vessell, by the leave of God.

“When the emperour saw this, hee said, O faire marden open thy vessell, and see if thou hast well chosen or no. And when this yong lady had opened it, she found it full of fine gold and precious stones, like as the emperour had told her before.

“And then said the emperour, O my deere daughter, because thou hast wisely chosen, therefore shalt thou marry my sonne. And when he had so said, he ordained a marriage, and married them together with great solempnitie and much honour, and they lived peaceably a long time together.” – Abridged from a translation by ROBERT ROBINSON, in Mr. COLLIER's Shakespeare's Library, vol. II. p. 102.

(2) SCENE II.--Here's a simple line of life.] Chiromantically, the linea vitæ, or line of life, is the indentation which runs round the root of the thumb, dividing it from the palm of the hand. In an ancient MS. possessed by

Mr. Halliwell, we are told, “ Hit ys to know yf the lyne of the lyf strecche to the wryst, and that it be of good coloure sufficiently, it is a signe of long lyf. Yf it be short, it ys a signe of short lyf.” If this authority be correct, we were not strictly so in stating that the table signified the palm of the hand. (See Note (C), p. 404.) “The lyne that begyniyth under the litille fynger and streccheth toward the rote of the fynger next the thombe, ys cleped mensalis that is, the table.But another writer on palmistry says, The space between the natural line and the line of fortune is called mensa, the table.” Samson's Polygraphice, 1675.

The table line, or line of fortune, then, is the line running from the fore-finger below the other three fingers to the side of the hand. The natural line is the line which curves in a different direction, through the middle of the palm ; and the line of life, as before mentioned, is the circular line surrounding the ball of the thumb. The space between the two former lines being technically known as the table.


Nay more, while grace is saying, hood mine eyes

Thus with my hat, and sigh, and say Amen.) The practice of wearing the hat at meals, and especially at ceremonial feasts, was probably derived from the age of chivalry. In the present day, at the installation banquet of the Knights of the Garter, all the Knights Companions wear their hats and plumes. It appears to have been usual formerly for all persons above the rank of attendants to keep on their hats at the dinner-table. Lilly, in his Autobiography, gives an edifying account of his wooing his widowed mistress, who finally signified her acceptance of his suit by making him sit down with her to dinner with his hat on. And the custom may be inferred from the following :-" Roger the Canterburian, that cannot Say Grace for his meat with a low-crowned hat before his face: or the character of a prelatical man affecting great heighths. Newly written by G. T. Lond. sm. 4to." As also, from the Recipe for Dressing a Knuckle of Veal, sent by Dr. Delany to Swift :

" Then skimming the fat off,
Say Grace with your hat off."


(1) SCENE I.-It was my turquoise.] The turquoise was esteemed precious of old, not alone from its rarity and beauty, but on account of the imaginary properties attributed to it. Among other virtues, it was supposed to have the power to quell enmity, and reconcile man and wife ; and to possess the inestimable quality of forewarning its wearer, if any evil approached him :-The turkesse doth move when there is any peril prepared to him that weareth it.” FENTON'S Certain Secrete Wonders of Nature, 1569. “ Turcois,” says Swan, 1635, “is a compassionate stone : if the wearer of it be not well, it changeth colour, and looketh pale and dim ; but increaseth to his perfectnesse, as the wearer recovereth to his health.”

(2) SCENE II.The scull, that bred them, in the sepulchre.) The fashion of wearing false hair seems to have been epidemical among the ladies of the beau-monde in the sixteenth century, and to have exposed them to unceasing raillery and sarcasm from contemporary pens. The crabbed Stubbes avers that it was the practice to decoy children who had beautiful hair to some secluded spot and there

" The

(4) SCENE VIII.That in a gondola.) A good account of the gondola, as it was in Shakespeare's time, is found in Coryat's “Crudities,” ed. 1611, pp. 170, 171. channels which are called in Latin euripi, or estuario, that is, pretty little armes of the sea, because they ebbe and flow every sixe houres, are very singular ornaments to the citie, through the which they runne even as the veynes doe through the body of a man, and doe disgorge into the Canal il grande, which is the common receptacle of them all. They impart two principall commodities to the citie, the one that it carryeth away all the garbage and filthinesse that falleth into them from the citie, which by meanes of the ebbing and flowing of the water, is the sooner conveighed out of the channels, though indeede not altogether so well, but that the people doe eftsoones adde their own industry to clense and purge them : the other that they serve the Venetians in stead of streetes to passe with farre more expedition on the same, then they can do on their land streetes, and that by certaine little boates, which they call gondolas, the fayrest that ever I saw in any place. For none of them are open above, but fairely covered, first with some fifteene or sixteene little round pieces of timber that reach from one end to the other, and make a pretty kinde of arch or vault in the gondola ; then with faire black cloth which is turned up at both ends of the boate, to the end that if the passenger meaneth to be private, he may draw downe the same, and after row so secretly that no man can see him : in the inside the benches are finely covered with blacke leather, and the bottomes of many of them, together with the sides under the benches, are very neatly garnished with fine linnen cloth, the edge whereof is laced with bonelace : the ends are beautified with two pretty and ingenuous devices. For each end hath a crooked thing made in the forme of a dolphin's tayle, with the fins very artificially represented, and it seemeth to be tinned over. The watermen that row these never sit as ours doe in London, but alwaies stand, and that at the farther end of the gondola, sometimes one, but most commonly two; and in my opinion they are altogether as swift as our rowers about London. Of these gondolaes they say there are ten thousand about the citie, whereof sixe thousand are private, serving for the gentlemen and others; and foure thousand for mercenary men, which get their living by the trade of rowing.”

despoil them of their envied locks. Even the dead, as Shakespeare tells us here and elsewhere, were pillaged, to satisfy the demand occasioned by this morbid vanity :

"- The golden tresses of the dead,
The right of sepulchres, were shorn away,
To live a second life on second head!"

Sonnel 68. “The hair thus obtained,” says Drake, “was often dyed of a sandy colour, in complement to the Queen, whose locks were of that tint; and these false ornaments, or thatches,' as Timon terms them, were called 'periwigs.'” (See note (3), p. 44.)

(3) SCENE II.—For me, three thousand ducats.] In Venice there were two sorts of ducats : one, the ducat de Banco, worth 4s. 4d. ; the other, of St. Mark, valued at about 2s. 10d. The ducat took its name, according to some, from the legend on it :

“Sit tibi, Christi, datus, quem tu regis, iste Ducatus."

(4) SCENE V.-Thus when I shun Scylla, your father, I fall into Charybdis, your mother.] The famous old proverbial line,

" Incidis in Scyllam, cupiens vitare Charybdim," is said to have originally appeared in the Latin poem, Alexandreis sive Gesta Alexandri Magni," by Philip Gualtier; there applied to Darius, who, escaping from Alexander, fell into the hands of Bessus. The proverb

itself, however, has been pointed out in a much older writer, St. Augustine, in Joan. Evang., Tract. xxxvi. 89: Ne iterum quasi fugiens Charybdim, in Scyllam in. curras. Again :-"A Charybdi quidem evasisti, sed in Scyllis scopulis naufragasti. In medio naviga, utrumque periculosum latus evita." It was common in English books of the sixteenth and seventeenth century ; and Mr. Halliwell quotes an old Somersetshire saying to a similar effect,“He got out of the muxy and fell into the pucksy."

(1) SCENE I.-A royal merchant.] This epithet is strictly appropriate, a royal merchant being one who transacted the commercial business of a sovereign. Thus King John calls Brand de Doway, “homo noster et dominicus mercator noster ;” and on the same account, the famous Gresham was ordinarily dignified with the title of the royal merchant. About the period when Shakespeare wrote this play, there was at Palermo a celebrated merchant called Antonio, of whom it was said that he had at one time two kingdoms mortgaged to him by the King of Spain. (See Hunter's “New Illustrations of Shakespeare.")

(2) SCENE I.-Some men there are love not a gaping pig.] By a gaping, pig Shakespeare may have meant a pig roasted for the table. Thus, in Nash's “Pierce Pennylesse his Supplication to the Devil :"-" The causes conducting unto wrath are as diverse as the actions of a man's life. Some will take on like a madman, if they see a pig come to the table.” So, in Fletcher's play of “The Elder Brother," Act II. Sc. 2:-"And they stand gaping like a roasted pig.Again, in Webster's "Dutchess of Malfi,” Act III. Sc. 2, 1623 :-“He could not abide to see a pig's head gaping; I thought your grace would find him a Jew." In the Newe Metamorphosis,” a poem quoted by Mr. Halliwell, and written in the seventeenth century, there are some singular instances of antipathy :-

" I knewe the like by one that nould endure

To see a goose come to the table sure;
Some cannot brooke to se a custarde there,
Some of a cheese doe ever stand in feare;
And I knowe one, if she tobacco see,
Or smels the same, she swoones imediately:
The like of roses I have heard some tell,
Touch but the skyn and presently 'twill swell,
And growe to blisters: the reason it is this,
'Twixt them and these there's such antithisis."

or less than an exact pound. After all these objections had been urged and admitted, she adduces the Venetian law which made the whole transaction a criminal offence involving the penalty of forfeiture and death. In these two distinct parts of the pleading, we may fancy we can perceive the operations of two different minds; Doctor Bellario, of Padua, and Portia, of Belmont. To the former may be attributed the sound and irresistible legal attack upon the sanguinary bond; as appears to be expressed in his letter to the courts,—“We turned o'er many books together: he is furnish'd with my opinion.” But it seems also as if the female wit of Portia may be traced in the ingenious perception of the less criminal objections which first gained the cause ; and that the old advocate covertly alludes to it in the words, “better'd with his own learning (the greatness whereof I cannot enough commend).”

There is, in Mr. Rogers' volume of Italy, a charming old Italian story, entitled “The Bag of Gold," which had been related to the author by a retired cardinal, and which, as he says, bears some resemblance to the tale of “The Merchant of Venice.” It is altogether too long to be extracted entire, and the reader will probably thank us for sending him to the book ; but as it especially illustrates the ancient Italian practice of gaining a cause by ingenious sophistry, we shall abstract the narrative and give the conclusion.

Three of the half-robber soldiers of the sixteenth or seventeenth century, desired to leave a stolen bag of gold with the hostess of a small inn called the White Cross, on the road to Bologna. They drew up an acknowledgment for it, which she signed, undertaking to deliver it when applied for; “but to be delivered, these were the words, not to one, nor to two, but to the three ; words wisely introduced by those to whom it belonged, knowing what they knew of each other.” After they had gone, one of them, who seemed to be a Venetian, returned, and requested to be allowed to set his seal on the bag as the others had done. She placed it before him for the purpose, but being at the same moment called away to receive a guest, when she came back the soldier and the money were gone. The other two robbers soon after claimed the gold ; and as it was not forthcoming, they commenced a process against the hostess on her written acknowledgment.

In great distress, she sent her daughter to several advocates to defend her ; but some of them demanded too large a fee, others were already retained against her : all considered the case to be hopeless, and the trial was to come on le next day.

It happened that the hostess' daughter had a lorer, Lorenzo Martelli, who was a law-student of great promise and already at the bar, though he had never spoken: and he volunteered his hearty support.

The trial came on, the claim was proved,—there was no defence made by the defendant, and the judges were about to give sentence, when Lorenzo rose and addressed the court. “Much has been said,” he pleaded, “on the sacred nature of the obligation, and we acknowledge it in its full force. Let it be fulfilled, and to the last letter. It is what we solicit, what we require. But to whom is the bag of gold to be delivered?

(3) SCENE I. - Thou diest, and all thy goods are confiscate.] In the conduct of this part of Antonio's trial, we have a curious picture of Italian manners in the sixteenth century; one which shows that the most esteemed forensic talent of the period, consisted less in sound legal knowledge, than in the subtle acumen which could discover a flaw in an indictment, or detect an unsuspected omission in a bond. Portia here brings forth at last the most fatal charge against Shylock, that namely by which he had already forfeited both property and life, after the validity of the deed had been overthrown and the cause actually gained, by insisting on the fulfilment of overlooked impossibilities. Firstly, she urges,

“ This bond doth give thee here no jot of blood." And then,

“ - In the cutting of it, if thou dost shed

One drop of Christian blood, thy lands and goods

Are by the laws of Venice confiscate." Finally, she requires the plaintiff to cut off at once the precise weight, not the twentieth part of a scruple more

What says the bond ? Not to one, not to two, but to the three. Let the three stand forth and claim it.” From that day,—for who can doubt the issue ?-none were sought, none employed, but the subtle, the eloquent Lorenzo.

(4) SCENE I.

So he will let me have The other half in use.] “ That is, in trust for Shylock during his life, for the purpose of securing it at his death to Lorenzo. Some critics explain in use, upon interest-a sense which the phrase certainly sometimes bore; but that interpretation is altogether inconsistent, in the present passage, with the generosity of Antonio's character. In conveyances of land,



(1) SCENE I.-A Grove before Portia's house.] 'poet's pen' has nowhere given more striking proof of its power than in the scene of the garden of Belmont. We find ourselves transported into the grounds of an Italian palazzo of the very first class, and we soon perceive them to be of surpassing beauty and almost boundless extent. It is not a garden of parterres and flowers, but more like Milton's Paradise,' full of tall shrubs and lofty treesthe tulip-tree, the poplar, and the cedar. But it is not, like Milton's, a garden in which the hand of Nature is alone visible. There are terraces and flights of steps, cas. cades and fountains, broad walks, avenues and risings, with alcoves and banquetting-houses in the rich architecture of Venice. It is evening: a fine evening of summer, which tempts the masters of the scene to walk abroad and enjoy the breezes which ruffle the gentle foliage. The moon is in the heavens, full orbed and shining with a steady lustre; no light clouds disturbing the deep serene. On the green sward fall the everchanging shadows of the lofty trees, which may be mistaken for fairies sporting by the moonlight; where trees are not the moonbeams sleep upon the bank. The distant horn is beard ; and even sweeter music floats upon the breeze.”—HUNTER's New Illustrations, &c.

where it is intended to give the estate to any person after the death of another, it is necessary that a third person should be possessed of the estate, and the use be declared to the one after the death of the other, or the estate to the future possessor would be rendered insecure. This is called a conveyance to uses, and the party is said to be possessed, or rather seised to the use of such an one, or to the use that he render or convey the land to such an one, which is expressed law French by the terms seisie al use, and in Latin, seisitus in usum alicujus, viz., A B, or C D. This latter phrase Shakespeare has rendered with all the strictness of a technical conveyancer, and has made Antonio desire to have one-half of Shylock's goods in use, to render it upon his, Shylock's, death to Lorenzo, Anon.

this pleasant little incident about the ring forms a part of the story. The tale is much too long to be given in full, but the following analysis of it, extracted from Dunlop's “History of Fiction,” preserves enough of the original to show that it was closely connected with the bond fable in “The Merchant of Venice." A young man, named Giannetto, is adopted by Ansaldo, a rich Venetian merchant. He obtains permission to go to Alexandria, and sets sail in a ship richly laden. On his voyage he enters the port of Belmont, where a lady of great wealth resided, and who announced herself as the prize of any person who could enjoy her.

Giannetto is entertained in her palace, and having partaken of wine purposely mixed with soporific ingredients, he falls asleep on going to bed, and his vessel is confiscated next morning, according to the stipulated conditions. He returns to Venice, fits out a vessel richly loaded, for Belmont, and acts in a similar manner. The third time, Ansaldo is forced to borrow ten thousand ducats from a Jew, on condition of his creditor being allowed to take a pound of flesh from his body if he did not pay by a certain time. Giannetto's expedition is now fortunate. He obtains the lady in marriage, by refraining from the wine, according to a hint he received from a waiting maid. Occupied with his bride, he forgets the bond of Ansaldo till the day it is due: he then hastens to Venice, but as the time had elapsed the Jew refuses to accept ten times the money. At this crisis the new-married ladly arrives disguised as a lawyer, and announces, as was the custom in Italy, that she had come to decide difficult cases : for in that age, delicate points were not determined by the ordinary judges of the provinces, but by doctors of law who were called from Bologna, and other places at a distance. The pretended lawyer being consulted on the claim of the Jew, decides that he is entitled to insist on the pound of flesh, but that he should be beheaded if he draw one drop of blood from his debtor. The judge then takes from Giannetto his marriage-ring as a fee, and afterwards banters him in her own character for having parted with it.


(2) SCENE I.---Such harmony is in immortal souls.] Touching musical harmony," observed Hooker, “whether by instrument or by voice, it being but of high or low sounds in a due proportionable disposition, such, notwithstanding, is the force thereof, and so pleasing effects it hath in every part of man which is most divine, that some have been thereby induced to think that the soul itself by nature is, or hath in it, harmony.'

Ecclesiastical Polity, Book 5.

(3) SCENE I.-No woman had it, but a civil doctor.] In the Pecorone of Ser Giovanni, with which there can be little reason to doubt Shakespeare was in some way acquainted,

« السابقةمتابعة »