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credit to herself. She obtains Bassanio's ring and hastens home laughing to think how he will explain the loss of it.

Everywhere Portia is the clear-headed, warmhearted, quick-witted woman. She overrules all obstacles, not so much by her will as by her enthusiasm and hopefulness. There is not a bit of despondency in her. Her household catch her

spirit. Nerissa talks almost as well as her mis


Yet there is no vanity or self-consciousness in Portia. She is a queen who uses her power for good as naturally as the summer uses its shower and sunshine to create fruits and blossoms.

We can imagine how pleasant a home her pres ence would create.


The character of the Jewish merchant, Shylock, fills us with pity and with indignation.

We pity the baffled, broken old man leaving the court-room amid the jeers of all. We are touched by his pathetic words, "No tears but o' my shedding," as he searches for his faithless daughter. We see him spit upon in the street. We see his business hindered and his enemies encouraged. We hear him called dog and cut-throat because he takes interest on his loans.

When at last Shylock has his enemies in his

power, we cannot wonder at the fiery outbreak of his long-smothered hate. We shudder at his cruelty to Antonio. Neither Portia's eloquent plea for mercy nor Antonio's farewell words move him. Yet all is natural. Forgiveness, it is true, would be noble. But he is human. He sees around him His parched heart

no examples of forgiveness. has too long missed the gentle dew of kindness to respond now to its soft appeal. Excluded from all employments except trade, as all his race are, he has bent his energies to money-making. Wealth, at least, will bring respect.

Confined to trade alone, Jews often became rich. They were able to loan money when it could be obtained from no other source. Naturally enough, they charged interest. This custom, which is now universal, was then looked upon with scorn. Yet since wealth was the path which led to influence, they pursued this path in spite of all obstacles.

The finer qualities of man are often sacrificed to wealth. This is the case with Shylock. We see in him a man of keen intellect, strong will, and quick wit. Yet his feelings have been dwarfed. He lives for gain. Revenge on those who oppose him is dear to him. He is the wreck of a noble nature. Yet he is but the natural outgrowth of years of suffering and injustice. His story should make us ponder whether we are not sometimes accountable for the evil actions of another.


Antonio is the opposite of Shylock. He is the popular, successful merchant whom everybody courts and assists. Shylock has everything to oppose him in the pursuit of his business.

Antonio is open-handed and generous. He is as much interested in his friend Bassanio's enter

prise as if it were his own. He is self-sacrificing, risking his life to do a favor to his friend. Shylock is close and exacting. He demands returns for all his favors.

Antonio is surrounded by scores of friends who sympathize with him in his misfortunes. Shylock has no friends. He is jeered at on account of his losses. He exclaims, "No sighs but o' my own. breathing; no tears but o' my own shedding."

Antonio's nature is passive, even melancholy. He is inclined to offer little resistance. He lets matters take their own course without much protest. He is quiet, courteous, and dignified in his manner, but he is not given to any great expression of his feelings. Shylock is active and strongwilled. He is a man of passion. His manner is emphatic and his conversation is excited.

Antonio nearly lost his life at the hands of Shylock, yet Antonio was not wholly free from

blame in the matter.

The two characters form a most interesting study.




If there is a power above us

(And that there is all Nature cries aloud

Through all her works), he must delight in virtue;
And that which he delights in must be happy.


Joseph Addison, whose tomb is now to be seen in Westminster Abbey, was a great English poet who lived in England two hundred years ago, from 1672 to 1719. You notice he was one generation later than Shakespeare and one earlier than Goldsmith. Alexander Pope was his great contemporary.

Addison lived in a time of much coarseness and bitterness of feeling. Nearly every work of that age was full of ridicule of men and events. The English people were struggling for more liberty, which they finally obtained by what is called the great English Revolution, which dethroned the tyrannical King James II. and placed William III. upon the throne.

As people were not free, as now, to openly criti

cise public acts, nearly all authors expressed their ideas of right and wrong through some allegory or fable. Others, rather than meddle with politics, wrote essays on purely literary subjects.

Addison, like the rest, wrote allegories and essays. They formed a collection called "The Tatler" and "The Spectator."



These two excelled other writings of his faultless purity of language and thought. They are indeed masterpieces of literature.

Like Cowper, Moore, and Montgomery, he has given the world many hymns. [Pages 77, 210.]


The curfew tolls the knell of parting day,
The lowing herd winds slowly o'er the lea,
The plowman homeward plods his weary way,
And leaves the world to darkness and to me.


Thomas Gray, a contemporary of Goldsmith and Cowper, lived in England, from 1716 to 1771. He is widely known through a beautiful revery, which he wrote, on the thoughts and feelings awakened by an English country churchyard. This is known as his Elegy. [See page 263.]

In person Gray was small, delicate, and hand

some; he was unusually refined in manner and

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