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Well, while I live, I'll fear no other thing
So sore, as keeping safe Neriffa’s ring. (Exeunt."

9 It has been lately discovered, that this fable is taken from a story in the Pecorone of Ser Giovanni Fiorentino, a novelist, who wrote in 1378. [The firft novel of the fourth day.] The story has been published in English, and I have epitomized the translation. The translator is of opinion, that the choice of the caskets is bor. rowed from a tale of Boccace, which I have likewise abridged, though I believe that Shakspeare must have had some other novel in view. Johnson.

There lived at Florence, a merchant whose name was Bindo. He was rich, and had three sons. 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 Giannetto, went to his father, and said, What has my father done? The father replied, Dear Giannetto, there is none to whom I wish 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 Christians: if you behave well, you will be certainly a rich man. The son answered I am ready to do whatever my dear father shall coinmand : 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. Giannetto replied, He is dead. I am much grieved, replied Ansaldo, to hear of the death of Bindo; but the joy I feel, in seeing you, mitigates my sorrow. He conducted him to his house, and gave orders to his servants, that Giannetto should be obeyed, and served with more attention than had been paid to himself. He then delivered him the keys of his ready money: and told him, Son, 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.

Giannetto now began to give entertainments. He was more obedient and courteous to Ansaldo, than if he had been an hundred times his father. Every body in Venice was fond of him. Ansaldo could think of nothing but him; so much was he pleased with his good manners and behaviour.

• Sec Dr. Farmer's note at the beginning of this play, from which it appears that Dr. Johnson was right in his conjecture. MALONE.

It happened, that two of his most intimate acquaintance designed to go with two ships 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 permisfion for Giannetto to go in the {pring with them to Alexandria; and desire him to provide him a ship. Ansaldo 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 asked the captain how the port was called ? He replied

That place belongs to a widow lady, who has 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 inftant they side 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 numbers, 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 said, it seems to be time to go to bed. Giannetto told the lady, he was entirely devoted to her service: and immediately two damsels enter with wine and sweetmeats. The lady entreats him to taste the wine; he takes the sweetmeats, and drinks some of the wine, which was prepared with ingredients to cause sleep. He then goes into the bed, where he instantly falls asleep, and never wakes till late in the morning, but the lady rose with the sun, and gave orders to unload the veffel, which she found full of rich merchandize. After nine o'clock the women fervants go to the bed-side, 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, he dares not return home for Thame : but at night goes to the house of a friend, who is surprised to see him, and inquires of him the cause of his return: He answers, his fhip had ftruck on a rock in the night, and was broke in pieces.

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This friend, going one day to make a visit to Ansaldo, found him very disconsolate. I fear, says Ansaldo, so much, that this fon of mine is dead, that I have no rest. His friend told him, that he had been shipwreck'd, and had loft his all, but that he himself was safe. Ansaldo instantly gets up and runs to find him. My dear fon, said 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 foon known all over Venice, and every one was concerned for Giannetto. Some time after, his companions arriving from Alexandria very rich, demanded what was become of their friend, and having heard the story, ran to see him, and rejoiced with him for his safety; telling him that next spring, he might gain as much as he had loft 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 caft down. Giannetto said, 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 bed-chamber, and seeing the fhip, asked her maid, if she 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 me, 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 she saw him embraced him, and the day was passed in joy and revels. Bed-time being come, che lady entreated him to go to reít: when they were seated in the chamber, the two damsels enter with wine and sweetmeats; and having eat and drank of them, they go to bed, and immediately Giannetto falls asleep; the lady undressed, and lay down by his fide; but he waked not the whole night. In the morning, the lady rises, and gives orders to strip the ship. He has a horse and money given him, and away he goes, and never ftops till he gets to Venice; and at night goes to the same friend, who with attonithment asked him what was the matter? I am undone, says Giannetto. His friend answered, You are the cause of the ruin of Ansaldo, and your shame ought to be greater than the loss you have suffered. Giannetto lived privately many days. At laft he took the resolution of seeing Ansaldo, who rose from his chair, and running to embrace him, told him he was welcome : Giannetto with tears returned his embraces. Ansaldo heard his tale: Do 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 fuccess. When Ansaldo enquired what was the matter, he confeded, he could never be contented till he should be in a conVol. V,

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proclaimed sovereign of the country, with great pomp and splendour; and when the lords and ladies were come to the castle, he married the lady in great ceremony

Giannetto governed excellently, and caused justiee to be admi. niftered impartially. He continued some time in his happy state, and never entertained a thought of poor Anfaldo, who had given his bond to the Jew for ten thoufand ducats. But one day, as he tood at the window of his palace with his bride, he saw a number of people pafs along the piazza, with lighted torches in their hands. What is the meaning of this ? says he. The lacly answered, they are artificers, going to make their offerings at the church of Si. John, this day being his festival. Giannetto instantly recollected Ansaldo, gave a great ligh, and turned pale. His lady enquired the cause of his ludden change. He said, he felt nothing. She continued to press with great earnestness, till he was obliged to confess the cause of his uneasiness; that Ansaldo was engaged for the money ; that the term was expired; and the grief he was in was left his father should lose his life for him : that if the ten thou. fand ducats were not paid that day, he must lofe a pound of his flesh. The lady told him to mount on horseback, and go by land the nearest way, to take some attendants, and an hundred thousand ducats; and not to stop till he arrived at Venice; and if he was not dead, to endeavour to bring Ansaldo to her. Giannetto takes horfe with twenty attendants, and makes the best of his way to Venice.

The time being expired, the Jew had seized Ansaldo, and infifted on having a pound of his flesh. He entreated him only to wait fome days, that if his dear Giannetto arrived, he might have the pleafure of embracing him: the Jew replied he was willing to wait ; but, says he, I will cut off the pound of Aesh, according to the words of the obligation. Ansaldo answered, that he was content.

Several merchants would have jointly paid the money; the Jew would not hearken to the proposal, bụt infifted that he might have the satisfaction of saying, that he had put to death the greatest of the Christian merchants. Giannetto making all possible hafte to Venice, his lady soon followed him in a lawyer's habit, with two servants attending her. Giannetto, when he came to Venice, goes to the Jew, and (after embracing Ansaldo) tells him, he is ready to pay the money, and as much more as he should demand. The Jew said, he would take no money, since it was not paid at the time due ; but that he would have the pound of flesh. Every one blamed the Jew; but as Venice was a place where justice was strictly administered, and the Jew had his pretensions grounded on publick and received forms, their only resource was entreaty; and when the merchants of Venice applied to him, he was inflexible. Giannetto offered him twenty thousand, then thirty thousand, afterwards forty, fifty, and at last ạn hundred thousand ducats. Tix

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