Imatges de pÓgina
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I freely told you, all the wealth I had
Ran in my veins, I was a gentleman;
And then I told you true: and yet, dear lady,
Rating myself at nothing, you shall see

How much I was a braggart: When I told you
My state was nothing, I should then have told you
That I was worse than nothing; for, indeed,
I have engag'd myself to a dear friend,
Engag'd my friend to his mere enemy,

To feed my means.

Here is a letter, lady;

The paper as the body of my friend,

And every word in it a gaping wound,

Issuing life-blood.-But is it true, Salerio?

Have all his ventures fail'd? What, not one hit?
From Tripolis, from Mexico, and England,
From Lisbon, Barbary, and India?

And not one vessel 'scape the dreadful touch
Of merchant-marring rocks?

SALE.

Not one, my lord. Besides, it should appear, that if he had The present money to discharge the Jew, He would not take it: Never did I know A creature, that did bear the shape of man, So keen and greedy to confound a man: He plies the duke at morning, and at night: And doth impeach the freedom of the state, If they deny him justice: twenty merchants, The duke himself, and the magnificoes Of greatest port, have all persuaded with him;

3 The paper as the body -] I believe, the author wrote-is the body. The two words are frequently confounded in the old copies. So, in the first quarto edition of this play, Act IV.: "Is dearly bought, as mine," &c. instead of—is mine.

MALONE. The expression is somewhat elliptical: "The paper as the body," means-the paper resembles the body, is as the body.

STEEVENS.

But none can drive him from the envious plea
Of forfeiture, of justice, and his bond.

JES. When I was with him, I have heard him

swear,

To Tubal, and to Chus, his countrymen,

That he would rather have Antonio's flesh,
Than twenty times the value of the sum
That he did owe him and I know, my lord,
If law, authority, and power deny not,

It will go hard with poor Antonio.

POR. Is it your dear friend, that is thus in trouble ?

BASS. The dearest friend to me, the kindest man, The best condition'd and unwearied spirit In doing courtesies; and one in whom The ancient Roman honour more appears, Than any that draws breath in Italy.

What, no more?

POR. What sum owes he the Jew?
BASS. For me, three thousand ducats.
POR.
Pay him six thousand, and deface the bond;
Double six thousand, and then treble that,
Before a friend of this description

4

Should lose a hair through Bassanio's fault.
First, go with me to church, and call me wife:
And then away to Venice to your friend;
For never shall you lie by Portia's side
With an unquiet soul. You shall have gold
To pay the petty debt twenty times over;
When it is paid, bring your true friend along:
My maid Nerissa, and myself, mean time,
Will live as maids and widows. Come, away;
For you shall hence upon your wedding-day:

* So folio, and quarto, H.; shall, quarto, R.

4 Should lose a HAIR.] Hair is here used as a dissyllable.

MALONE.

Bid your friends welcome, show a merry cheer; Since you are dear bought, I will love you dear.But let me hear the letter of your friend.

BASS. [Reads.] Sweet Bassanio, my ships have all miscarried, my creditors grow cruel, my estate is very low, my bond to the Jew is forfeit; and since in paying it, it is impossible I should live, all debts are cleared between you and I, if I might but see you at my death: notwithstanding, use your pleasure: if your love do not persuade you to come, let not my letter.

POR. O love, despatch all business, and be gone. BASS. Since I have your good leave to go away, I will make haste: but, till I come again,

No bed shall e'er be guilty of my stay,

Nor* rest be interposer 'twixt us twain.

SCENE III.

Venice. A Street.

[Exeunt.

Enter SHYLOCK, SALANIO, ANTONIO, and Gaoler.

SHY. Gaoler, look to him;-Tell not me of

mercy ;

This is the fool that lent* out money gratis ;-
Gaoler, look to him.

ANT.

Hear me yet, good Shylock. SHY. I'll have my bond; speak not against my

bond;

* So folio and quarto, H.; quarto, R. no.

† So quartos; folio, lends.

cheer;] i. e. countenance.

Night's Dream, Act V. Sc. I. :

So, in A Midsummer

"That liv'd, that lov'd, that lik'd, that look'd, with cheer." See note on that passage. STEEVENS.

6- and I,] This inaccuracy, I believe, was our author's. Mr. Pope reads and me. MALONE.

I have sworn an oath, that I will have my bond: Thou call'dst me dog, before thou had'st a

cause:

But, since I am a dog, beware my fangs :
The duke shall grant me justice.-I do wonder,
Thou naughty gaoler, that thou art so fond'
To come abroad with him at his request.
ANT. I pray thee, hear me speak.

SHY. I'll have my bond; I will not hear thee speak:

I'll have my bond; and therefore speak no more.
I'll not be made a soft and dull-ey'd fool,
To shake the head, relent, and sigh, and yield
To Christian intercessors. Follow not;
I'll have no speaking; I will have my bond.

[Exit SHYLOCK. SALAN. It is the most impenetrable cur, That ever kept with men.

ANT.
Let him alone;
I'll follow him no more with bootless prayers.
He seeks my life; his reason well I know;
I oft deliver'd from his forfeitures

Many that have at times made moan to me;
Therefore he hates me.

SALAN.

I am sure, the duke

Will never grant this forfeiture to hold.

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ANT. The duke cannot deny the course of law;

SO FOND] i. e. so foolish. So, in the old comedy of Mother Bombie, 1594, by Lyly: "that the youth seeing her fair cheeks, may be enamoured before they hear her fond speech." STEEVENS.

8

DULL-EY'D fool,] This epithet dull-ey'd is bestowed on melancholy, in Pericles, Prince of Tyre. STEEVENS.

9 The duke cannot deny, &c.] As the reason here given seems a little perplex'd, it may be proper to explain it. If, says he, the duke stop the course of law, it will be attended with this inconvenience, that stranger merchants, by whom the wealth and power of this city is supported, will cry out of injustice. For the known stated law being their guide and security, they will never

For the commodity that strangers have
With us in Venice, if it be denied',

Will much impeach the justice of the state;
Since that the trade and profit of the * city
Consisteth of all nations. Therefore, go:
These griefs and losses have so 'bated me,
That I shall hardly spare a pound of flesh
To-morrow to my bloody creditor.—
Well, gaoler, on :-Pray God, Bassanio come
To see me pay his debt, and then I care not!
[Exeunt.

SCENE IV.

Belmont. A Room in PORTIA'S House.

Enter PORTIA, NERISSA, LORENZO, JESSICA, and BALTHAZAR.

LOR. Madam, although I speak it in your pre

sence,

You have a noble and a true conceit

Of god-like amity; which appears most strongly
In bearing thus the absence of your lord.

But, if you knew to whom you show this honour,
How true a gentleman you send relief,

How dear a lover of my lord your husband,

* Quarto R, his.

bear to have the current of it stopped on any pretence of equity whatsoever. WARBURTON.

For the COMMODITY that strangers have

With us in Venice, if it be denied, &c.] i. e. for the denial of those rights to strangers, which render their abode at Venice so commodious and agreeable to them, would much impeach the justice of the state. The consequence would be, that strangers would not reside or carry on traffick here; and the wealth and strength of the state would be diminished. In The Historye of Italye, by W. Thomas, quarto, 1567, there is a section On the libertee of straungers at Venice. MALONE.

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