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Laun. 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." [Exit Laun.
Shy. The patch is kind enough : 8 but a huge feeder,
[Erit. Jess. Farewell; and if my fortune be not crost, I have a father, you a daughter lost.
[Exit. Enter GRATIANO and SALARINO, masked. Gra. This is the pent-house under which Lorenzo Desir'd us to make stand. Sal.
His hour is almost past.
Sal. O, ten times faster Venus' pigeons flyo
Gra. That ever holds: Who riseth from a feast
7 The worth of a Jew's eve was the price with which the Jews used to buy themselves off from mutilation. The expression became proverbial, and was kept up long after its original meaning was lost.
8 This use of pitch is said to have sprung from the motley or patched dress worn by professional Fools. Hence a general term of contempt. Sc, in a Midsummer-Night & Dream, iii. 2: “A crew of patches, rude mechanicals, that work for bread upon Athenian stalls."
9 The allusion seems to be to the doves by which Venus's chariot 18 drawn.
10 Obliged faith is plighted faith.
With over-weather'd ribs, and ragged sails,
:- more of this hereafter.
Lor. Sweet friends, your patience for my long abode ; 13
then. — Come, approach ;
Enter JESSICA above, in Boy's Clothes.
Lor. Lorenzo, and thy love.
Jess. Lorenzo, certain ; and my love indeed;
whether I am yours?
Jess. Here, catch this casket; it is worth the pains.
Lor. Descend, for you must be my torch-bearer.
Jess. What, must I hold a candle to my shames ?
So are you, sweet,
Jess. I will make fast the doors, and gild myself
[Ecit, from above.
11 This passage well illustrates how the Poet's text ought to be printed, especially the verse. In chased, scarfed, and embraced, the verse plainly requires the ed to be a distinct syllable; the contrary of which as plainly holds in enjoy'd, hugg'd, over-weather'd, and beggar'd. See page 103, note 25.
12 Long turrying.
Gra. Now, by my hood, a Gentile,16 and no Jew.
Lor. Beshrew me, but I love her heartily;
Enter JESSICA, below.
[Exit, with JESSICA and SALARINO
Ant. Who's there?
Ant. Fie, fie, Gratiano! where are all the rest?
Gra. I'm glad on’t: I desire no more delight,
Belmont. A Room in PORTIA's House.
Flourish of Cornets. Enter Portia, with the Prince of
Morocco, and both their Trains.
Mor. The first, of gold, which this inscription bears :
Por. The one of them contains my picture, Prince:
you choose that, then I am yours withal.
16 Gratiano is disguised with a mask, and in swearing by his hood he im. plies a likening of himself to a hooded inonk swearing by his monastic character. — There is also a play on the word gentile, wbich sign ties both a heathen and one well-born; perhaps reterring also to her generosity as contrasted with her father's avarice.
Mor. Some god direct my judgment! Let me see; I will survey th' inscriptions back again. What says this leaden casket ? Who chooseth me must give and hazard all he hath. Must give, — For what? for lead? hazard for lead ? This casket threatens : Men that hazard all Do it in hope of fair advantages. A golden mind stoops not to shows of dross; I'll then nor give nor hazard aught for lead. What says the silver, with her virgin hue ? Who chooseth me shall get as much as he deserves. As much as he deserves ! - Pause there, Morocco, And weigh thy value with an even hand: If thou be’st rated by thy estimation, Thou dost deserve enough ; and yet enough May not extend so far as to the lady: And yet to be afeard of my deserving, Were but a weak disabling of myself. As much as I deserve! Why, that's the lady: I do in birth deserve her, and in fortunes, In graces, and in qualities of breeding; But more than these, in love I do deserve. What if I stray'd no further, but chose here? Let's see once more this saying gravid in gold: W ho chooseth me shall gain what many men desire. Why, that's the lady; all the world desires her: From the four corners of the earth they come, To kiss this shrine, this mortal breathing saint. Th' Hyrcanian deserts 2 and the vasty wilds Of wide Arabia are as through-fares now For princes to come view fair Portia : The watery kingdom, whose ambitious head Spits in the face of Heaven, is no bar To stop the foreign spirits; but they come, As o'er a brook, to see fair Portia. One of these three contains her heavenly picture. Is't like that lead contains her ? 'Twere damnation, To think so base a thought: it were too gross To rib her cerecloth in the obscure grave.
1 Christians often made long pilgrimages to kiss the shrine of a saint, inat is, the place where a saint's bones were enshrined. And Portia, because she enshrines so much excellence, though still but “a traveller between life and death,” is compared to such a hallowed shrine.
2 A wilderness of indefinite extent south of the Caspian Sea.
8. That is, lead were unworthy even to enclose her cerements, or her shroud. The Poet elsewhere has rib in the sense of enclose or protect: in Cymbeline, iii. 1, he speaks of England as "Neptune's park, ribbed and paled in with rocks unscaleable and roaring waters." — It would seem that obscure
Or shall I think in silver she's immur'd,
Por. There, take it, Prince; and if my form lie there,
[He unlocks the golden Casket. Mor.
O Hell ! what have we here?
Often have you heard that told:
outside to behold :
been as wise as bold,
suit is cold.
Then, farewell heat, and welcome frost !. Portia, adieu! I have too griev'd a heart To take a tedious leave: thus losers part. [Exit with Train.
Por. A gentle riddance. — Draw the curtains, go : Let all of his complexion choose me so.
well ; your
SCENE VII. Venice. A Street.
Enter SALARINO and SOLANIO. Sal. Why, man, I saw Bassanio under sail : With him is Gratiano gone along ; And in their ship I'm sure Lorenzo is not. here was meant to have the first syllable long. The Poet has many instances of like usage. However, it is to be noted that he often allows and even prefers a Dibrach or a Spondee in any part of the line.
4 This is said to have been just the ratio of silver and gold in the year 1600. Now it is about 1 to 15.
6 The angel appears to have been the national coin in Shakespeare's time. The custom of stamping an angel upon the coin is thus explained by Verstegan, in his Restitution of Decayed Intelligence: "The name of Engel is yet at this present in all the Teutonic tongues as much as to say, an Angel; and if a Dutchman be asked how he would in his language call'an Angellike-man, he would answer, ein English-man"
6 A human skuil from which the flesh has all decayed.