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Enter BARABAS in his counting-house, with heaps of gold before him.

Bar. So that of thus much that return was made:
And of the third part of the Persian ships,
There was the venture summed and satisfied.
As for those Sabans, 1 and the men of Uz,
That bought my Spanish oils and wines of Greece,
Here have I purst their paltry silverlings.2
Fie; what a trouble 'tis to count this trash.
Well fare the Arabians, who so richly pay
The things they traffic for with wedge of gold,
Whereof a man may easily in a day

Tell that which may maintain him all his life.
The needy groom that never fingered groat,


1 Old ed. "Samintes," for which the modern editors give "Samnites." Between the "Samnites" and the "men of Uz" there can be no possible connection. My emendation suits the context. We have Saba for Sabæa in Faustus, xii. 25, &c.

2 Old ed. "silverbings." Dyce observes that the word "silverling" occurs in Isaiah (vii. 23):—“A thousand vines at a thousand silverlings."

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Would make a miracle of thus much coin:

But he whose steel-barred coffers are crammed full,
And [he who] all his lifetime hath been tired,
Wearying his fingers' ends with telling it,
Would in his age be loth to labour so,
And for a pound to sweat himself to death.
Give me the merchants of the Indian mines,
That trade in metal of the purest mould;
The wealthy Moor, that in the eastern rocks
Without control can pick his riches up,
And in his house heap pearls like pebble stones,
Receive them free, and sell them by the weight;
Bags of fiery opals, sapphires, amethysts,
Jacinths, hard topaz, grass-green emeralds,
Beauteous rubies, sparkling diamonds,
And seld-seen costly stones of so great price,
As one of them indifferently rated,

And of a carat of this quantity,

May serve in peril of calamity

To ransom great kings from captivity.
This is the ware wherein consists my wealth;
And thus methinks should men of judgment frame
Their means of traffic from the vulgar trade,
And as their wealth increaseth, so inclose
Infinite riches in a little room.

But now how stands the wind?

Into what corner peers my halcyon's 1 bill?



1 It was a common belief that a stuffed halcyon (i.e., kingfisher), suspended by the bill, showed from what quarter the wind blew. Shakespeare alludes to the superstition in Lear, ii. 2,—

Ha! to the east? yes: see how stands the vanes?
East and by south: why then I hope my ships
I sent for Egypt and the bordering isles
Are gotten up by Nilus' winding banks:
Mine argosy from Alexandria,

Loaden with spice and silks, now under sail,
Are smoothly gliding down by Candy shore
To Malta, through our Mediterranean sea.
But who comes here? How now.

Enter a Merchant.

Merch. Barabas, thy ships are safe,

Riding in Malta Road: and all the merchants
With other merchandise are safe arrived,

And have sent me to know whether yourself
Will come and custom 1 them.

Bar. Why then go bid them come ashore,
And bring with them their bills of entry :
I hope our credit in the custom-house
Will serve as well as I were present there.
Go send 'em threescore camels, thirty mules,


Bar. The ships are safe thou say'st, and richly fraught. Merch. They are.




Renege, affirm, and turn their halcyon beaks
With every gale and vary of their master."

Sir Thomas Browne, who discusses the subject in Vulgar Errors (iii. 10),

says that "the eldest custom of hanging up these birds was founded upon a tradition that they would renew their feathers every year as though they were alive."

1 Pay the duty on them.

And twenty waggons to bring up the ware.
But art thou master in a ship of mine,
And is thy credit not enough for that?

Merch. The very custom barely comes to more
Than many merchants of the town are worth,
And therefore far exceeds my credit, sir.

Bar. Go tell 'em the Jew of Malta sent thee, man: Tush! who amongst 'em knows not Barabas ?

Merch. I go.

Bar. So then, there's somewhat come.

Sirrah, which of my ships art thou master of?
Merch. Of the Speranza, sir.

Bar. And saw'st thou not


Mine argosy at Alexandria?

Thou could'st not come from Egypt, or by Caire,
But at the entry there into the sea,

Where Nilus pays his tribute to the main,
Thou needs must sail by Alexandria.


Merch. I neither saw them, nor inquired of them :
But this we heard some of our seamen say,
They wondered how you durst with so much wealth
Trust such a crazèd vessel, and so far.

Bar. Tush, they are wise! I know her and her strength.


But go, go thou thy ways, discharge thy ship,
And bid my factor bring his loading in.
And yet I wonder at this argosy.

[Exit Merch.

1 Old ed. "By" (which might perhaps be defended, as meaning 66 good-bye." Cf. Shirley's Constant Maid, i. 1,—" Buoy, Close, buoy, honest Close: we are blanks, blanks.")

Enter a second Merchant.

2 Merch. Thine argosy from Alexandria,
Know, Barabas, doth ride in Malta Road,
Laden with riches, and exceeding store
Of Persian silks, of gold, and orient pearl.


Bar. How chance you came not with those other ships That sailed by Eygpt?

2 Merch. Sir, we saw 'em not.

Bar. Belike they coasted round by Candy shore
About their oils, or other businesses.

But 'twas ill done of you to come so far
Without the aid or conduct of their ships.

2 Merch. Sir, we were wafted by a Spanish fleet,
That never left us till within a league,
That had the galleys of the Turk in chase.

Bar. O-they were going up to Sicily:Well, go,

And bid the merchants and my men despatch And come ashore, and see the fraught discharged. 2 Merch. I go.



Bar. Thus trowls our fortune in by land and sea,
And thus are we on every side enriched :
These are the blessings promised to the Jews,
And herein was old Abram's happiness :
What more may heaven do for earthly man
Than thus to pour out plenty in their laps,
Ripping the bowels of the earth for them,
Making the sea[s] their servants, and the winds
To drive their substance with successful blasts ?
Who hateth me but for my happiness?

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