Obrazy na stronie

into light, than if you had discovered an Otho or a Niger.


Shewing the crueltie of Gernutus a Jew, who lending to a merchant an hundred crownes, would have a pound of his fleshe because he could not pay him at the time appointed.

IN Venice town not long agoe
A cruel Jew did dwell,
Which lived all on usurie,
As Italian writers tell.
Gernutus called was the Jew,

Which never thought to die,
Nor never yet did any good

To them in streets that lye.

His life was like a barrow hogge,
That liveth many a day,
Yet never once doth any good,
Until men will him slay.

Or like a filthy heap of dung,
That lyeth in a hoord;
Which never can do any good,
Till it be spread abroad.

So fares it with this usurer,
He cannot sleep in rest,
For fear the theefe doth him pursue
To pluck him from his nest.

His heart doth think on many a while,
How to deceive the poore;
His mouth is almost full of mucke,
Yet still he gapes for more.

His wife must lend a shilling,
For every week a penny,
Yet bring a pledge that's double worth,
If that you will have any.

And see (likewise) you keep your day,
Or else you lose it all:

This was the living of his wife,
Her cow she doth it call.

Within that citie dwelt that time
A merchant of great fame,
Which being distressed in his need
Unto Gernutus came:

Desiring him to stand his friend,

For twelve moneth and a day,
To lend to him an 100 crownes,
And he for it would pay

Whatsoever he would demand of him
And pledges he should have:
No, (qd. the Jew with fleering lookes)
Sir, aske what you will have.

No penny for the loan of it

For one yeere you shall pay;
You may do me as good a turne,
Before my dying day.

But we will have a merry jeast
For to be talked long :

You shall make me a bond (quoth he)
That shall be large and strong.
And this shall be the forfeiture,

Of your own fleshe a pound,
If you agree, make you the bond,
And here's a hundred crownes.

The second part of the Jew's crueltie; setting forth the mercifulnesse of the Judge towards the


With right good will the merchant said,
And so the bond was made,

When twelve months and a day drew on
That back it should be payd.

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The merchant's friends came thither fast,
With many a weeping eye,
For other means they could not find,
But he that day must dye.

Some offered for his 100 crownes
Five hundred for to pay;
And some a thousand, two or three,
Yet still he doth denay.

And at the last, 10,000 crownes
They offered him to save,
Gernutus said, I will no gold,
My forfeit I will have.

A pound of flesh is my demand,
And that shall be my hyre.
Then said the judge, yet my good friend

Let me of you desire,

To take the fleshe from such a place
As yet you let him live;
Doe so, and loan 100 crownes,
To thee here will I give.

No, no, quoth he, no judgment here
For this it shall be tryde,
For I will have my pound of fleshe
From under his right side.

It grieved all the companie,
His crueltie to see;

For neither friend nor foe could help
But he must spoiled bee.

The bloudie Jew now ready is

With whetted blade in hand To spoyle the bloud of innocent, By forfeit of his bond.

And as he was about to strike
In him the deadly blow;
Stay (quoth the Judge) thy crueltie
I charge thee to do so.

Sith needs thy forfeit thou wilt have
Which is of fleshe a pound:
See that thou shed no drop of bloud,
Nor yet the man confound.

For if thou doe, like murtherer,
Thou here shalt hanged be:
Likewise of flesh see that thou cut
No more than longs to thee.

For if thou take either more or lesse,
To the value of a mite,
Thou shalt be hanged presently
As is both law and right.

Gernutus now waxt frantic mad,
And wotes not what to say:
Quoth he at last, 10,000 crownes
I will that he shall pay.

And so I grant to set him free:

The Judge doth answere make. You shall not have a penny given, Your forfeiture now take.


And at the last he doth demand,
But for to have his own:
No, quothe the Judge, do as you list,
Thy judgment shall be shewne.

Either take your pound of fleshe, (qd. he)
Or cancell me your bond.

O cruel Judge, then quoth the Jew,
That doth against me stand!

And so with griped grieved minde
He biddeth them farewell:
All the people prays'd the Lord
That ever this heard tell.

Good people that do hear this song,
For truth I dare well say,
That many a wretch as ill as he
Doth live now at this day,

That seeketh nothing but the spoyle
Of many a wealthie man,
And for to trap the innocent,
Deviseth what they can.

From whom the Lord deliver me,
And every Christian too,

And send to them like sentence eke,
That meaneth so to do.

Printed at London by E. P. for J. Wright dwelling in

It will be proper to subjoin what the ingenious Mr. Warton has observed upon this subject...." It may be objected, says he, that this Ballad might have been written after, and copied from Shakspeare's play. But if that had been the case, it is most likely, that the author would have preserved Shakspeare's name of Shylock for the Jew; and nothing is more likely, than that Shakspeare, in copying from this Ballad, should alter the name from Gernutus to one more Jewish. Another argument is, that our Ballad has the air of a narrative written before Shakspeare's play; I mean, that, if it had been written after the

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