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Shylock. What! are there masques? Hear you me,
you me, Jessica:
Lock up my doors; and when
But stop my house's ears, I mean my casements;
I will go before, sir.
Mistress, look out at window for all this;
There will come a Christian by,
Will be worth a Jewess' eye.
Shylock. What says that fool of Hagar's offspring, ha?
Jessica. His words were, "Farewell, mistress;" nothing else. Shylock. The patch is kind enough; but a huge feeder,
Snail-slow in profit, and he sleeps by day
More than the wild cat: drones hive not with me;
Jessica. Farewell; and if my fortune be not crost,
I have a father, you a daughter, lost.
MERCHANT OF VENICE.-Act II. Scene V.
Shylock. Quoi! il y aura des masques! Ecoute-moi, Jessica: ferme bien les portes; quand tu entendras le tambour et les sons criards du fifre au cou tors, ne va pas te mettre à la fenêtre, ni montrer ta tête en public, pour voir les visages barbouillés de Chrétiens imbéciles; mais bouche les oreilles de ma maison, je veux dire les fenêtres: que les bruits d'une folie stupide ne pénètrent pas dans ma demeure austère.— Par le bâton de Jacob, je jure que je n'ai pas ce soir la moindre envie de souper dehors; néanmoins j'irai.-(A Lancelot.) Toi, prends les devants: dis que je vais venir.
Lancelot. Je vais vous précéder, monsieur.-(Bas, à Jessica.) Mademoiselle, que cela ne vous empêche pas de regarder par la fenêtre:
Car il se peut qu'un Chrétien vous arrive,
Shylock. Que dit cet imbécile, cette race d'Agar?
Shylock. C'est un assez bon diable; mais un énorme mangeur; au travail il est lent comme un colimaçon; cela dort, le jour comme un chat sauvage; les frelons ne me conviennent pas dans ma ruche: c'est pourquoi je me sépare de lui, et je le cède à un autre, afin qu'il l'aide à dépenser promptement l'argent que lui ai prêté.-Allons, rentre, Jessica; peut-être reviendrai-je sur-le-champ; fais ce que je t'ai dit; ferme les portes sur toi qui bien renferme bien retrouve; c'est un proverbe toujours de saison pour l'esprit économe. [Il séloigne. Jessica. Adieu; si mon projet réussit, nous avons perdu, moi un père, toi une fille. [Elle séloigne.
LE MARCHAND DE VENISE.-Acte II. Scène V.
THE PRINCESS OF FRANCE.
'Sweet hearts, we shall be rich ere we depart,
If fairings come thus plentifully in :
A lady wall'd about with diamonds !—
Look you, what I have from the loving King."
THE comedy of Love's Labour Lost is replete with playful satire; for, with the exception of the female characters, each is made the object of pungent wit; kings and nobles, pedagogues and parsons, alike suffering at the hands of the dramatist.
The KING OF NAVARRE, with three of his nobles, has resolved to spend three years in entire seclusion from the world, and in fasting and study. Proclamation has been made "that no woman shall come within a mile of my court;" and that any talking with one, shall" endure such public shame, as the rest of the court can possibly devise." BIRON, alone of the nobles, strongly objects to such stringent terms; and subscribes to them under such qualifications as places his obedience in the hands of his own discretion. Unluckily for the constancy of these ascetics, the PRINCESS OF FRANCE arrives at Navarre, sent by her father with an urgent message to the King.
This difficulty in respect to their oaths had been foreseen; and it was agreed amongst them, that they might see the Princess and her train, on purely court affairs, without endangering their honour. They accordingly repair to the Princess, who has encamped in the fields; and having heard of their resolves, wittily twits them, but especially the King, on whose welcome she remarks :—
"Welcome I have not yet; the roof of this court is too high to be yours; and welcome
to the base fields too base to be mine."
Despite their vows, all fall desperately in love; the King with the Princess, and each noble with one of her maids.
Whilst BIRON, in love-sick mood, is pondering in the fields, over some verses intended for ROSALINE, he observes the King approaching, and accordingly climbs into a tree, that he may overhear the love-ditty composed by his majesty in honour of the Princess. LONGAVILLE and DUMAIN, the other sworn nobles, also appear on the scene, similarly engaged. The King, fancying that he has not been seen, taunts these two on the breach of their oaths, when BIRON descends, and boldly charges him with the same delinquency.
They at last determine to visit their fair ones, disguised as Russians. The Princess, however, having been forewarned, causes each maid and herself to change masks, so that when the King and nobles arrive, they make love to the wrong ones. Acquitting themselves badly, they are glad to retire; but shortly return in their proper dress, professing ignorance of any Russians having visited the Princess. But she soon shows them that they have each forsworn themselves, by producing the pledges of love they had unwittingly and wrongly given, during their previous visit.
BIRON at last boldly declares their real object, and they each offer marriage to the object of their choice. The Princess, however, taunts them on their love-making, professing it to be "as pleasant jest and courtesy, as bombast, and as lining of their time." At last, mindful of the proclamation declared against any who should be found love-making, she prescribes one year's penance on the King. Her maids follow the example, imposing such conditions as may prove their sincerity, purge their faults, and punish their perjuries. And at the end of that time they all agree to marry.