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Ner. Ay; but the clerk that never means to do it, Unless he live until he be a man.

Bass. Sweet doctor, you shall be my bedfellow; When I am absent then lie with my wife.

Ant. 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 way
Of starved people.
Por.

It is almost morning,
And yet, I am sure, you are not satisfied
Of these events at full : Let us go in;
And charge us there upon inter'gatories,
And we will answer all things faithfully.

Gra. Let it be so ; The first inter’gatory, That my Nerissa shall be sworn on, is, 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, Till I were couching with the doctor's clerk. Well, while I live, I 'll fear no other thing So sore,a as keeping safe Nerissa's ring. Exeunt.

a Soremexcessively, extremely, much.

END OP

THE MERCHANT OF VENICE.

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INTRODUCTORY REMARKS.

Much ADO ABOUT NOTHING' was first printed in 1600. There was no other separate edition. The variations between the text of the quarto and that of the folio are very few. The chronology of this comedy is sufficiently fixed by the circumstance of its publication in 1600, coupled with the fact that it is not mentioned by Meres in 1598.

“ The story is taken from Ariosto," says Pope. To Ariosto then we turn; and we are repaid for our labour by the pleasure of reading that long but by no means tedious story of Genevrà, which occupies the whole of the fifth book, and part of the sixth, of the Orlando Furioso.' “ The tale is a pretty comical matter," as Harrington quaintly pronounces it. The famous town of St. Andrew's forms its scene; and here was enacted something like that piece of villainy by which the Claudio of Shakspere was deceived, and his Hero“ done to death by slanderous tongues.” But here the resemblance ceases.

Ariosto found the incident of a lady betrayed to suspicion and danger, by the personation of her own waiting-woman, amongst the popular traditions of the south of Europe—this story has been traced to Spain-and he interwove it with the adventures of his Rinaldo as an integral part of his chivalrous romance. Spenser has told a similar story in “The Fairy

VOL. II.

T2

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