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judge to give what he required, that Anfaldo might have his liberty: but he replied, let me manage him. Then the Jew would have taken fifty thousand: he faid, I will not give you a penny. Give me at leaft, fays the Jew, my own ten thousand ducats, and a curfe confound you all. The judge replies, I will give you nothing: if you will have the pound of flesh, take it; if not, I will order your bond to be protefted and annulled. The Jew feeing he could gain nothing, tore in pieces the bond in a great rage. Anfaldo was releafed, and conducted home with great joy by Giannetto, who carried the hundred thousand ducats to the inn to the lawyer. The lawyer faid, I do not want money; carry it back to your lady, that he may not fay, that you have fquandered it away idly. Says Giannetto, my lady is fo kind, that I might spend four times as much without incurring her difpleafure. How are you pleased with the lady? fays the lawyer. I love her better than any earthly thing, anfwers Giannetto: nature feems to have done her utmost in forming her. If you will come and fee her, you will be furprifed at the honours fhe will fhow you. I cannot go with you, fays the lawyer; but fince you speak fo much good of her, I must defire you to prefent my refpects to her. I will not fail, Giannetto anfwered; and now, let me entreat you to accept of fome of the money. While he was fpeaking, the lawyer obferved a ring on his finger, and faid, if you give me this ring, I fhall feek no other reward. Willingly, fays Giannetto; but as it is a ring given me by my lady, to wear for her fake, I have fome reluctance to part with it, and fhe, not feeing it on my finger, will believe that I have given it to a woman. Says the lawyer, fhe esteems you fufficiently to credit what you tell her, and you may say you made a prefent of it to me; but I rather think you want to give it to fome former miftrefs here in Venice. So great, fays Giannetto, is the love and reverence I bear to her, that I would not change her for any woman in the world. After this he takes the ring from his finger, and prefents it to him. I have ftill a favour to ask fays the lawyer. It fhall be granted, fays Giannetto. It is, replied he, that you do not stay any time here, but go as foon as poffible to your lady. It appears to me a thousand years till I fee her, anfwered Giannetto: and immediately they take leave of each other. The lawyer embarked, and left Venice. Giannetto took leave of his Venetian friends, and carried Ansaldo with him, and some of his old acquaintance accompanied them. The lady arrived fome days before, and having refumed her female habit, pretended to have spent the time at the baths; and now gave order to have the ftreets lined with tapestry: and when Giannetto and Anfaldo were landed, all the court went out to meet them. When they arrived at the palace, the lady ran to embrace Anfaldo, but feigned anger against Giannetto, though fhe loved him exceffively: yet the feastings, tilts, and diverfions went on as ufual, at which all the lords
and ladies were prefent. Giannetto feeing that his wife did not receive him with her accustomed good countenance, called her, and would have faluted her. She told him, she wanted none of his careffes: I am fure, fays fhe, you have been lavish of them to fome of your former miftreffes. Giannetto began to make excufes. She afked him where was the ring fhe had given him: It is no more than what I expected, cries Giannetto, and was in the right to fay you would be angry with me; but, I fwear by all that is facred, and by your dear felf, that I gave the ring to the lawyer who gained our caufe. And I can fwear, fays the lady, with as much folemnity, that you gave the ring to a woman: therefore swear no more. Giannetto protefted that what he had told her was true, and that he faid all this to the lawyer, when he asked for the ring. The lady replied, you would have done much better to stay at Venice with your miftreffes, for I fear they all wept when you came away. Giannetto's tears began to fall, and in great forrow he affured her, that what the fuppofed could not be true. The lady feeing his tears, which were daggers in her bofom, ran to embrace him, and in a fit of laughter fhowed the ring, and told him, that The was herself the lawyer, and how the obtained the ring. Giannetto was greatly aftonished, finding it all true, and told the story to the nobles and to his companions; and this heightened greatly the love between him and his lady. He then called the damfel who had given him the good advice in the evening not to drink the fiquor, and gave her to Anfaldo for a wife; and they spent the rest of their lives in great felicity and contentment,
UGGIERI de Figiovanni took a refolution of going, for fome oufly received, and living there fome time in great magnificence, and giving remarkable proofs of his courage, was greatly esteemed. Having frequent opportunities of examining minutely the behaviour of the king, he obferved, that he gave, as he thought, with little difcernment, caftles, and baronies, to fuch who were unworthy of his favours; and to himself, who might pretend to be of fome eftimation, he gave nothing: he therefore thought the fittest thing to be done, was to demand leave of the king to return home.
His request was granted, and the king prefented him with one of the most beautiful and excellent mules, that had ever been mounted. One of the king's trufty fervants was commanded to accompany Ruggieri, and riding along with him, to pick up, and recollect every word he faid of the king, and then mention that it was the order of his fovereign, that he fhould go back to him. The man watching the opportunity, joined Ruggieri when he fet
out, faid he was going towards Italy, and would be glad to ride in company with him. Ruggieri jogging on with his mule, and talking of one thing or other, it being near nine o'clock, told his companion, that they would do well to put up their mules a little ; and as foon as they entered the stable, every beast, except his, began to ftale. Riding on further, they came to a river, and watering the beafts, his mule ftaled in the river: you untoward beast, fays he, you are like your mafter, who gave you to me. The fervant remembered this expreffion, and many others as they rode on all day together; but he heard not a fingle word drop from him, but what was in praife of the king. The next morning Ruggieri was told the order of the king, and inftantly turned back. When the king had heard what he said of the mule, he commanded him into his prefence, and with a finile, asked him, for what reafon he had compared the mule to him. Ruggieri answered, My reafon is plain, you give where you ought not to give, and where you ought to give, you give nothing; in the fame manner the mule would not ftale where he ought, and where the ought not, there fhe ftaled. The king faid upon this, If I have not rewarded you as I have many, do not entertain a thought that I was infenfible to your great merit; it is Fortune who hindered me; she is to blame, and not I; and I will show you manifeftly that I fpeak truth. My difcontent, fir, proceeds not, anfwered Ruggieri, from a defire of being enriched, but from your not having given the fmalleft teftimony to my deferts in your fervice: nevertheless your excufe is valid, and I am ready to fee the proof you mention, though I can easily believe you without it. The king conducted him to a hall, where he had already commanded two large caskets, fhut clofe, to be placed: and before a large company told Ruggieri, that in one of them was contained his crown, fceptre, and all his jewels, and that the other was full of earth: choose which of them you like best, and then you will fee that it is not I, but your fortune that has been ungrateful. Ruggieri, chofe one. It was found to be the casket full of earth. The king faid to him with a smile, Now you may fee Ruggieri that what I told you of fortune was true; but for your fake, I will oppofe her with all my ftrength. You have no intention, I am certain, to live in Spain, therefore I will offer you no preferment here; but that cafket which fortune denied you, fhall be yours in defpite of her: carry it with you into your own country, fhow it to your friends and neighbours, as my gift to you; and you have my permiffion to boast, that it is a reward of your virtues.
Of The MERCHANT of VENICE the ftyle is even and enfy, with few peculiarities of diction, or anomalies of conftruction. The comick part raises laughter, and the ferious 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 pleafed with his own addrefs in connecting the two plots of his Spanish Friar, which yet, I believe, the critick will find excelled by this play. JOHNSON.
Of the incident of the bond, no English original has hitherto been pointed out, I find, however, the following in The Orator: handling a hundred feverall Difcourfes, in form of Declamations: fome of the Arguments being drawne from Titus Livius and other ancient Writers, the reft of the Author's own invention: Part of which are of Matters happened in our Age.- -Written in French by Alexander Silvayn, and Englished by L. P. [i. e. Lazarus Pilot*] London, printed by Adam flip, 1596.-(This book is not mentioned by Ames.) See p. 401.
" DECLAMATION 95.
"Of a few, who would for his debt have a pound of the flesh of a Chriftian.
"A Jew, unto whom a Chriftian merchant ought nine hundred crownes, would have fummoned him for the fame in Turkie: the merchant, because he would not be difcredited, promised to pay the faid fumme within the tearme of three months, and if he paid it not, he was bound to give him a pound of the flesh of his bodie. The tearme being past fome fifteene daies, the Jew refused to take his money, and demaunded the pound of flesh: the ordinarie judge of that place appointed him to cut a juft pound of the Chriftian's Aefh, and if he cut either more or leffe, then his own head should be fmitten off: the Jew appealed from this fentence, unto the chiefe judge, faying:
Impoffible is it to breake the credit of trafficke amongst men without great detriment to the commonwealth: wherefore no man ought to bind himfelfe unto fuch covenants which hee cannot or will not accomplish, for by that means should no man feare to be deceaved, and credit being maintained, every man might be affured of his owne; but fince deceit hath taken place, never wonder if obligations are made more rigorous and strict then they were wont, feeing that although the bonds are made never fo ftrong, yet can no man be very certaine that he fhall not be a lofer. It feemeth at the first fight that it is a thing no lefs ftrange than cruel, to bind a man to pay a pound of the flesh of his bodie, for want of money: furely, in that it is a thing not ufuall, it appeareth to be fomewhat the more admirable; but there are divers others that are more cruell, which because they are in ufe feeme nothing terrible at all: as to binde all the bodie unto a moft lothfome prifon, or unto an intolerable flaverie, where not only the whole bodie but also all the
* Lazarus Pyot, (net Pilot) is Anthony Mundy, RITSON.
fences and fpirits are tormented; the which is commonly practifed, not only betwixt those which are either in fect or nation contrary, but alfo even amongst thofe that are of one fect and nation; yea amongst Christians it hath been seene that the fon hath imprisoned the father for monie. Likewife in the Roman commonwealth, fo famous for lawes and armes, it was lawful for debt to imprison, beat, and afflict with torment the free citizens: how manie of them (do you thinke) would have thought themselves happie, if for a fmall debt they might have been excufed with the paiment of a pounde of their fieth? who ought then to marvile if a Jew requireth fo fmall a thing of a Chriftian, to discharge him of a good round fumme? A man may afke why I would not rather take filver of this man, then his flesh: I might alleage many reasons; for I might fay that none but my felfe can tell what the breach of his promise hath coft me, and what I have thereby paied for want of money unto my creditors, of that which I have loft in my credit: for the miferie of thofe men which efteem their reputation, is so great, that oftentimes they had rather endure any thing fecretlie, then to have their difcredit blazed abroad, because they would not be both fhamed and harmed: nevertheleffe, I doe freely confeffe, that I had rather lose a pound of my flesh then my credit fhould be in any fort cracked; I might alfo fay, that I have need of this flesh to cure a friend of mine of a certaine maladie, which is otherwise incurable; or that I would have it to terrifie thereby the Christians for ever abufing the Jews once more hereafter: but I will onlie say, that by his obligation he oweth it me. It is lawfull to kill a fouldier if he come unto the warres but an hour too late; and alfo to hang a theefe though he steal never fo little: is it then fuch a great matter to caufe fuch a one to pay a pound of his flesh, that hath broken his promife manie times, or that putteth another in danger to lose both credit and reputation, yea and it may be life, and al for griefe were it not better for him to lofe that I demand, then his foule, alreadie bound by his faith? Neither am I to take that which he oweth me, but he is to deliver it to me: and especiallie because no man knoweth better than he where the fame may be fpared to the least hurt of his person; for I might take it in fuch place as hee might thereby happen to lofe his life: Whatte matter were it then if I fhould cut off his privie members, fuppofing that the fame would altogether weigh a juft pound? or els his head, fhould I be fuffered to cut it off, although it were with the danger of mine own life? I believe, I fhould not; because there were as little reason therein, as there could be in the amends whereunto I fhould be bound: or els if I would cut off his nofe, his lips, his ears, and pull out his eies, to make them altogether a pound, fhould I be fuffered furely I think not, because the obligation dooth not fpecifie that I ought either to choose, cut, or take the fame, but that he ought to give me a pound of his flesh. Of every thing that