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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 franticke mad,

And wotes not what to say;

Quoth he at last, Ten thousand crownes,

I will that he shall pay;

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Either take your pound of flesh, quoth he,
Or cancell me your bond.

O cruell judge, then quoth the Jew,

That doth against me stand!

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And so with griping grieved mind

He biddeth them fare-well.

'Then' all the people prays'd the Lord,

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And for to trap the innocent
Deviseth what they can.

From whome the Lord deliver me,

And every Christian too,

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

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**Since the first edition of this book was printed, the Editor hath had reason to believe, that both Shakspeare and the author of this ballad, are indebted for their story of the Jew (however they came by it) to an Italian Novel, which was first printed at Milan in the year 1554, in a book entitled, Il Pecorone, nel quale si contengono Cinquanta Novelle antiche, &c., republished at Florence about the year 1748 or 9. The author was Ser. Giovanni Fiorentino, who wrote in 1378; thirty years after the time in which the scene of Boccace's Decameron is laid. (Vide Manni, Istoria del Decamerone di Giov. Boccac. 4to. Fior. 1744.)

That Shakspeare had his plot from the Novel itself, is evident from his having some incidents from it which are not found in the ballad: and I think it will also be found that he borrowed from the ballad some hints that were not suggested by the Novel. (See above, pt. ii. ver. 25, &c., where instead of that spirited description of the whetted blade, &c., the prose narrative coldly says, "The Jew had prepared a razor," &c. See also some other passages in the same piece.) This however is spoken with diffidence, as I have at present before me only the abridgment of the Novel which Mr. Johnson has given us at the end of his Commentary on Shakspeare's play. The translation of the Italian story at large, is not easy to be met with, having I believe never been published, though it was printed some years ago with this title, · "THE NOVEL, from which the Merchant of Venice written by Shakespeare is taken, translated from the Italian. To which is added, a Translation of a Novel from

the Decamerone of Boccaccio. London, Printed for M. Cooper, 1755,❞ 8vo.

XII.

The Passionate Shepherd to his Love.

THIS beautiful sonnet is quoted in the Merry Wives of Windsor, act iii. sc. 1, and is ascribed (together with the Reply) to Shakspeare himself by all the modern editors of his smaller poems. A copy of this Madrigal, containing only four stanzas (the 4th and 6th being wanting) accompanied with the first of the answer, being printed in The Passionate Pilgrime, and Sonnets to sundry Notes of Musicke, by Mr. WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE. Lond. printed for W. Jaggard, 1599. Thus was this sonnet, &c. published as Shakspeare's in his life-time.

And yet there is good reason to believe that (not Shakspeare, but) Christopher Marlow wrote the song, and Sir Walter Raleigh the Nymph's Reply. For so we are positively assured by Isaac Walton, a writer of some credit, who has inserted them both in his Compleat Angler1, under the character of "that smooth song, which was made by Kit. Marlow, now at least fifty years ago; and . . . an Answer to it, which was made by Sir Walter Raleigh in his younger days.... Old-fashioned poetry, but choicely good." It also passed for Marlow's in the opinion of his contemporaries; for in the old Poetical Miscellany, entitled England's Helicon, it is printed, with the name of Chr. Marlow subjoined to it: and the Reply is subscribed Ignoto, which is known to have been a signature of Sir Walter Raleigh. With the same signature Ignoto, in that Collection, is an imitation of Marlow's, beginning thus,

"Come live with me, and be my dear,

And we will revel all the year,

In plains and groves," &c.

Upon the whole, I am inclined to attribute them to Mar

1 First printed in the year 1653, but probably written some time before.

low and Raleigh, notwithstanding the authority of Shakspeare's Book of Sonnets. For it is well known, that as he took no care of his own compositions, so was he utterly regardless of what spurious things were fathered upon him. Sir John Oldcastle, the London Prodiyal, and the Yorkshire Tragedy, were printed with his name at full length in the title-pages while he was living, which yet were afterwards rejected by his first editors, Heminge and Condell, who were his intimate friends, (as he mentions both in his will,) and therefore no doubt had good authority for setting them aside2.

The following sonnet appears to have been (as it deserved) a great favourite with our earlier poets: for besides the imitation above mentioned, another is to be found among Donne's Poems, entitled The Bait, beginning thus,

"Come live with me, and be my love,
And we will some new pleasures prove
Of golden sands," &c.

As for Chr. Marlow, who dramatic writings, he lost his brothel, before the year 1593.

was in high repute for his life by a stab received in a See A. Wood, i. 138.

COME live with me, and be my love,
And we wil all the pleasures prove
That hils and vallies, dale and field,
And all the craggy mountains yield.

There will we sit upon the rocks,
And see the shepherds feed their flocks,
By shallow rivers, to whose falls
Melodious birds sing madrigals.

There will I make thee beds of roses
With a thousand fragrant posies,

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2 Since the above was written, Mr. Malone, with his usual discernment, hath rejected the stanzas in question from the other Sonnets, &c. of Shakspeare, in his correct edition of The Passionate Pilgrim, &c. See his Shakspeare, vol. x., p. 340.

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The shepherd swains shall dance and sing
For thy delight each May morning:
If these delights thy mind may move,
Then live with me, and be my love.

THE NYMPH'S REPLY.

Ir that the World and Love were young,
And truth in every shepherd's toung,
These pretty pleasures might me move
To live with thee, and be thy love.

But time drives flocks from field to fold,
When rivers rage, and rocks grow cold,
And Philomel becometh dumb,
And all complain of cares to come.

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The flowers do fade, and wanton fields

To wayward winter reckoning yield:

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A honey tongue, a heart of gall,

Is fancies spring, but sorrows fall.

Thy gowns, thy shoes, thy beds of roses,
Thy cap, thy kirtle, and thy posies,

Soon break, soon wither, soon forgotten,
In folly ripe, in reason rotten.

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