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THE MERCHANT OF VENICE All the unsigned footnotes in this volume are by the writer of the article to which they are appended. The interpretation of the initials signed to the others is: I. G. = Israel Gollancz, M.A.; H. N. H.= Henry Norman Hudson, A.M.; C. H. H.-C. H. Herford, Litt.D.




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Two Quarto editions of The Merchant of Venice were printed in the year 1600, with the following title-pages :

(i.) The Excellent History of the Merchant of Venice. With the extreme cruelty of Shylocke the Jew towards the said Merchant, in cutting a just pound of his flesh. And the obtaining of Portia, by the choyse of three Caskets. Written by W. Shakespeare. Printed by J. Roberts, 1600. This Quarto had been registered on July 22, 1598, with the proviso "that yt bee not printed by the said James Robertes or anye other whatsoeuer without lycence first had from the Right honorable the lord chamberlen." This edition is generally described as “the first Quarto.” (ii.) The most Excellent Historie of the Merchant of Venice. With the extreame crueltie of Shylocke the Jew towards the sayd Merchant, in cutting a iust pound of his flesh: and the obtayning of Portia by the choyse of three chests. As it hath beene divers times acted by the Lord Chamberlaine his servants. Written by William Shakespeare. At London. Printed by I. R. for Thomas Heyes, and are to be sold in Paules Church-yard, at the signe of the Greene Dragon. 1600. This, the second Quarto, had been entered in the Stationers' Registers on October 28 of the same year “under the handes of the Wardens and by consent of master Robertes." It seems therefore likely that “I. R.” are the initials of the printer of the first Quarto, though the same type was not used for the two editions, which were evidently printed from different transcripts of the author's manuscript. Quarto 1 gives on the whole a more accurate text; in a few instances it is inferior to Quarto 2.

The second Quarto was carelessly reprinted in 1637, the only addition being a list of “The Actors' Names”; in one instance it improved on the previous editions (“in measure reine thy joy,” III, ii, 112, instead of “rain”). A fourth Quarto, probably the third with a new title-page, appeared in in 1652. Prof. Hales has suggested that the publication of this Quarto was connected with the proposed re-admission of the Jews into England, which was bitterly resented by a large portion of the nation; "the re-exhibition of Shylock in 1652 could scarcely have tended to soften this general disposition."

The text of the first Folio edition (1623) represents that of the second Quarto with a few variations, the most interesting being the change of "the Scottish lord” into “the other lord," evidently in deference to the reigning king.

During the first half of the eighteenth century a "low comedy" version, The Jew of Venice, by George Granville, Viscount Lansdowne, supplanted Shakespeare's play, and held the stage from the date of its appearance in 1701; Macklin's revival of The Merchant of Venice at the Drury Lane 1741 dealt a death-blow to Lansdowne's monstrosity, and restored again to the stage

“The Jew That Shakespeare drew."

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In the Funeral Elegy of the famous actor, Richard Burbadge, “who died on Saturday in Lent, the 13th of March 1618," there is a valuable reference to Burbadge's impersonation of Shylock :

“Heart-broke Philaster, and Amintas too,
Are lost for ever; with the red-haired Jew,
Which sought the bankrupt merchant's pound of flesh,
By woman-lawyer caught in his own mesh;

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