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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: February ::
Re: Someday My Ship Will Come In
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.0587  Tuesday, 27 February 2002

From:           Martin Steward <
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Date:           Wednesday, 27 Feb 2002 09:35:07 -0000
Subject: 13.0571 Someday My Ship Will Come In
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0571 Someday My Ship Will Come In

I would have thought that the phrase "I'll be well-off when my ship
comes in" was fairly commonplace amongst the merchants, as it accurately
states a fact of their lives. Brewer's (under "When...") certainly
traces the phrase to this connection with the Argosy, and then gives the
relevant quote from Merchant (it gives another quote from the play under
"Argosy"); but it seems to resist tracing the phrase to Shakespeare
specifically.

Cf. Marlowe's Jew of Malta:

BARABAS.        ... See, how stands the vanes?
East and by south. Why then,  I hope my ships
I sent for Egypt and the bordering isles
Are gotten up by Nilus' winding banks;
Mine argosy from Alexandria,
Loaden with spice and silks, now under sail,
Are smoothly gliding down by Candy shore
To Malta, through our Mediterranean Sea...
MERCHANT.                 Barabas,
Thy ships are safe, riding in Malta road;
And all the merchants with other merchandise
Are safe arrived, and have sent me to know
Whether yourself will come and custom them...
BARABAS.             Why then, go bid them come ashore
And bring with them their bills of entry.
I hope our credit in the custom-house
Will serve as well as I were present there...
Thus trolls our fortune in by land and sea,
And thus are we on every side enriched.
(I.i.40-102)

m

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