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THE TEXT CAREFULLY RESTORED ACCORDING TO
THE FIRST EDITIONS; WITH INTRODUCTIONS,
A LIFE OF THE POET;
REV. H. N. HUDSON, A.M.
REVISED EDITION, WITH ADDITIONAL NOTES.
IN TWELVE VOLUMES.
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1871, by
NOYES, HOLMES, AND COMPANY,
UNIVERSITY PRESS :
JOHN WILSON AND SON, CAMBRIDGE.
THE MERCHANT OF VENICE.
In 1598, under date of July 22, the following entry was made in the Stationers' Register by James Roberts : “A book of The MERCHANT OF VENICE, or otherwise called the Jew of Venice. Provided that it be not printed by the said James Roberts, or any other whatsoever, without licence first had from the right honoura. ble the Lord Chamberlain.” It was also included in the list given the same year by Francis Meres in his Wit's Commonwealth. These are the earliest certain notices of the play that have come down to us; though there is some ground for thinking that it was on the stage four years earlier. In Henslow's Diary, under date August 25, 1594, occurs an item relating to the performance of a play called The Venetian Comedy, which Malone conjectured might be the same as The Merchant of Venice. In 1594 the company to which Shakespeare belonged was playing at the theatre in Newington Buits; and, so far as can now be learned, Henslow's company was playing there at the same time: which lends some support to Malone's conjecture.
Touching the entry in the Stationers' books, it should be noted that the purpose of the proviso was, to prevent the print'ng of the play, till the company's permission were given through their patron « The book of the Merchant of Venice” was again entered in the same Register, by Thomas Heyes, October 28, 1600, the Lord Chamberlain's licence having probably been obtained by that time. The same year two editions were put forth, in quarto pam phlets, one of which had thirty-eight leaves, and a title-page read. ing as follows : “ The most excellent History of the Merchant of Venice. With the extreme cruelty of Shylock the Jew towards the said Merchant, in cutting a just pound of his flesh : and the obtaining of Portia by the choice of three chests. As it haih been divcrs times acted by the Lord Chamberlain his servants. Written by William Shakespeare At London : Printed by J. R. for