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You shall not know by what strange accident
I chanced on this letter.

Anth. I am dumb.
Baf. Were you the doctor, and I knew you not?
Gra. Were you the clerk that is to make me

cuckold ?
Ner. Ay; but the clerk that never means to do it,
Unless he live until he be a man.
Bas. Sweet doctor, you shall be

my

bedfellow When I am absent, then lie with my wife. Anth. Sweet lady, you have given me life and

living;
For here I read for certain, that my ships
Are safely come to road.

Por. How now, Lorenzo ?
My clerk hath some good comforts too for you.

Ner. Ay, and I'll give them him without a fee.-
There do I give to you and Jessica,
From the rich Jew, a special deed of gift,
After his death, of all he dies possess’d of.

Lor. Fair ladies, you drop manna in the ways
Of starved people.

Por. It is almost morning,
And yet, I am sure, you are not satisfy'd
Of these events at fuil. Let us go in,
And charge us there upon interrogatories,
And we will answer all things faithfully.

Gra. Let it be fo. The first interrogatory,
That my Nerissa shall be sworn on, is,

-you drop manna in the way Of starved people.) Shakespeare is not more exact in any thing, than in adapting his images with propriety to his speakers ; of which he has here given an instance in making the young Jewels call good fortune, man'a.

WARBURTON. The commentator should have remarked, that this speech is not, even in his own edition, the speech of the Jewels. JOHNSON.

Whether

P 3

Whether till the next night she had rather stay,
Or go to bed now, being two hours to day.
But were the day come, I should wish it dark,
That I were couching with the doctor's clerk.
Well, while I live, I'll fear no other thing
So fore, as keeping safe Nerissa's ring.

(Exeunt omnes.

It has been lately discovered, that this fable is taken from a story in the Pecorone of Ser Giovanni Fiorentino, a novellist, who wrote in 1378. The story has been published in English, and I have epitomised the translation. The translator is of opinion, that the choice of the caskets is borrowed from a tale of Boccace, which I have likewise abridged, though I believe that Shakespeare must have had some other novel in view. JOHNSON.

TI

HER E lived at Florence, a merchant whose name was

Bindo. He was rich, and had three fons. Being near his end, he called for the two eldest, and left them heirs : to the youngest he left nothing. This youngest, whose name was Gianneito, went to his father, and said, What has my father done? The father repliei, Dear Giannetto, there is none to whom I with better than to you. Go to Venice to your godfather, whose name is Ansaldo ; he has no child, and has wrote to me often to send you thither to him. He is the richest merchant amongst the Chriinans: if you behave well, you will be certainly a rich man. The fon answered, I am ready to do whatever my dear father shall command : upon which he gave him his benediction, and in a few days died.

Giannetto went to Ansaldo, and presented the letter given by the father before his death. Ansaldo reading the letter, cried out, My dearest godson is welcome to my arms. He then asked news of his father. Gianretto replied, He is dead. I am much grieved, replied Ansaldo, to hear of the death of Bindo ; but the joy I feel, in feeing you, mitigates my forrow. He conducted him to his house, and gave orders to his servants, that Giannetto should be obcyed, and served with more attention than had been paid to himself. He then delivered him the keys of his ready money; and told him, Sun, spend this money, keep a table, and make yourself known : remember, that the more you gain the good will of every body, the more you will be dear to me.

Giungetto now began to give entertainments. He was more obedient and courteous to Ansaldo, than if he had been an hondied times his father. Every body in Venice was fond of him.

Alfalco

Ansaldo could think of nothing but him ; so much was he pleased with his good manners and behaviour.

It happened, that two of his most intimate acquaintance defigned to go with two fhips to Alexandria, and told Giannetto, he would do well to take a voyage and see the world. I would go willingly, said he, if my father Ansaldo will give leave. His companions go to Ansaldo, and beg his permission for Giannetto to go in the spring with them to Alexandria; and desire im to provide him a ship. Apsaldo immediately procured a very fine ship, loaded it with merchandize, adorned it with streamers, and furnished it with arms; and, as soon as it was ready, he gave orders to the captain and sailors to do every thing that Giannetto commanded. It happened one morning early, that Giannetto saw a gulph, with a fine port, and aked the captain how the port was called ? He replied, That place belongs to a widow lady, who bas ruined many gentlemen. In what manner ? says Giannetto. He answered, This lady is a fine and beautiful woman, and has made a law, that whoever arrives here is obliged to go to bed with her, and if he can have the enjoyment of her, he must take her for his wife, and be lord of all the country ; but if he cannot enjoy her, he loses every thing he has brought with him. Giannetto, after a little reflection, tells the captain to get into the port. He was obeyed ; and in an instant they slide into the port so easily that the other ships perceived nothing:

The lady was soon informed of it, and sent for Giannetto, who waited on her immediately. She, taking him by the hand, asked him who he was? whence he came? and if he knew the custom of the country. He answered, That the knowledge of that custom was his only reason for coming. The lady paid him great honours, and sent for barons, counts, and knights in great number, who were her subjects, to keep Giannetto company. These nobles were highly delighted with the good breeding and manners of Giannetto; and all would have rejoiced to have him for their lord.

The night being come, the lady faid, it seems to be tine to go to bed. Giannetto told the lady, he was entirely devoted to her service ; and immediately two damtels enter with wine and sweetmeats. The lady intreats him to rate the wine : he takes the fweet.meats, and drinks fome of the wine, which was prepared with ingredients to cause seep. He then goes into the bed, where he instantly falls asleep, and never wakes üll late in the morning ; but the lady sose with the fun, and gave orders to unload the verfel

, which the found full of rich merchandize. After nine o'clock the women servants go to the bed-lide, order Giannetto to rise and be gone, for he had lost the ship. The lady gave him a horse and money, and he leaves the place very melancholy, and goes to Venice. When he arrives, be dares not rüürn home for mane; P +

bet

but at night goes to the house of a friend, who is furprised to see him, and inquires of him the cause of his return? He answers, his ship had Itruck on a rock in the night, and was broke in pieces.

This friend, going one day to make a visit to Ansaldo, found him very discontolate. I fear, "says Ansaldo, so much, that this fon of mine is dead, that I have no reft. His friend told him, that he had been shipwreck'd, and had lost his all, but that he himself was safe. Ansaldo instantly gets up, and runs to find him. My dear son, says he, you need not fear my displeasure ; it is a common accident ; trouble yourself no further. He takes him home, all the way telling him to be chearful and easy.

The news was soon known all over Venice, and every one was concerned for Giannetto. Some time after, his companions arrivingsfrom Alexandria very rich, demanded what was become of their friend, and having heard the story, ran to see him, and re. joiced with him for his safety ; telling him tbat next spring, he might gain as much as he had lost the last. But Giannetto had no other thoughts than of his return to the lady; and was reSolved to marry her, or die. Ansaldo told him frequently, not to be cast down. Giannetto faid, he should never be happy, till he was at liberty to make another voyage. Ansaldo provided another ship of more value than the first. He again entered the port of Belmonte, and the lady looking on the port from her bedchamber, and seeing the thip, aked her maid, if he knew the streamers ? the maid said, it was the ship of the young man who arrived the last year. You are in the right, answered the lady; he must surely have a great regard for ine, for never any one came a second time : the maid said, she had never seen a more agreeable man. He went to the castle, and presented himself to the lady; who, as soon as he saw him, embraced him, and the day was paffed in joy and revels. Bed-time being come, the lady entreated him to go to rest : when they were seated in the chamber, the two damsels enter with wine and sweet. meats; and having eaf and drank of them, they go to bed, and immediately Giannetto falls asleep ; the lady undrefied, and lay down by his fide ; but he waked not the whole night. In the morning, the lady sises, and gives orders to strip the ship. He has a horse and money given to him, and away he goes, and never stops till he geis in Venice; and at night goes to the same friend, who with altonishment asked him, what was the matter? I am undone, says Gianpeito. His friend answered, You are ihe cause of the ruin of Ansaldo, a d your thame ought to be greater than the loss you have suffered. Giannetto lived privately many days. At lait he took a resolution of seeing Ansaldo, who rose from his chair, and running to embrace him, told him he was welcome : Giannetta with tiars returned his embraces. An{aldo heard his tale: do

not

not grieve, my dear fon, says he, we have still enough: the sea enriches some men, others it ruins.

Poor Giannetto's head was day and night full of the thoughts of his bad success. When Ansaldo enquired what was the matter, he confessed, he could never be contented till he should be in a condition to regain all that he lost. When Ansaldo found him resolved, he began to sell every thing he had, to furnish this other fine ship with merchandize : but, as he wanted ftill ten thousand ducats, he applied himself to a Jew at Meitri, and borrowed them on condition, that if they were not paid on the feast of St. John in che next month of june, that the Jew might take a pound of Mesh from any part of his body he pleased. Ansaldo agreed, and the Jew had an obligation drawn, and witnessed, with all the form and ceremony necessary; and then counted him the ten thousand ducats of gold, with which Ansaldo bought what was still wanting for the vessel. This last ship was finer and better freighted than the other two, and his companions made seady for the voyage, with a design that whatever they gained should be for their friend. When it was time to depart, Ansaldo told Giannetto, that since he well knew of the obligation to the Jew, he entreated, that if any misfortune happened, he would return to Venice, that he might see him before he died; and then he could leave the world with fatisfa&ion: Giannetto promised to do every thing that he conceived might give him pleasure. Ansaldo gave him his blefling, they took their leave, and the ships set out.

Giannetto had nothing in his head but to stealinto Belmonte ; and he prevailed with one of the sailors in the night to sail the ves. sel into the port. It was told the lady, that Giannetto was ar

She saw from the window the vessel, and imme. diately sent for him.

Giannetto goes to the castle, the day is spent in joy and feasting; and to honour him, a tournament is ordered, and many

barons and knights tilted that day. Giannetto did wonders, so well did he undesitand the lance, and was so graceful a figure on horseback ; he pleased so much, that all were desirous to have him for their lord.

The lady, when it was the usual time, catching him by the hand, begged him to take his reft. When he passed the door of the chamber, one of the damsels in a whisper said to him, Make a pretence to drink the liquor, but touch not one drop. The lady said, I know you must be thirlly, I must have you drink before you go to bed : immediately two damsels entered the room, and presented the wine. Who can refuse wine from such beautiful hands ? cries Giannetto: at which the lady smiled. Giannetto takes the cup, and making as if he drank, pours the wine into his borom, The lady thinking he had drank, says aside to herself with great joy, You must go, young man, and bring another ship,

rived in port.

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