Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

THE MERCHANT OF VENICE.

PERSONS REPRESENTED.

DUKE of Venice.

LAUNCELOT GOBBO, a Clown, Servant to Prince of Morocco, } Suitors to Portia.

Shyrock.

OLD GOBBO, Father to Launcelot. ANTONIO, the Merchant of Venice. LEONARDO, Servant to Bassanio. BAGSANIO, his Friend.

BALTHAZAR, } Servants to Portia. SOLANIO,

Friends to Antonio and BasSALARINO,

sapio. GRATIANO, S.

PORTIA, a rich Heiress. LORENZO, in love with Jessica.

NERISSA, her Companion. SHYLOCK, a Jew.

JESSICA, daughter to Shylock. TUBAL, a Jew, his Friend. Magnificoes of Venice, Officers of the Court of Justice, Jailer, Servants, and other

Attendants.

SCENE, partly at Venice, and partly at Belmont.

ACT I. SCENE I. Venice. A Street.

Enter ANTONIO, SALARINO, and SOLANO.1
Ant. In sooth, I know not why I am so sad :
It wearies me, you say it wearies you ;
But how I caught it, found it, or came by it,
What stuff 'tis made of, whereof it is born,
I am to learn ;
And such a want-wit sadness makes of me,
That I have much ado to know myself.

Sal. Your mind is tossing on the ocean ;
There, where your argosies : with portly sail,
Like signiors and rich burghers of the flood,

we ha

1 In the old copies there is much confusion in the printing of these names, Especially in the first scene. After the first scene the prefixes to the speeches uniformly are Sal. an Sol. So

authority for reading Solanio instead of Salanio, as it is in most modern editions.

2 Sooth is truth ; old English.
3 Argosies are large ships either for merchandise or for war.

The name was probably derived from the classical ship Argo, which carried Jason and the Argonauts in quest of the golden fleece.

4 Signier is used by Shakespeare very much in the sense of lord ; signiory, of lordship, meaning dominion. Thus, in The Tempest, Act i. scene 2, Prospero says of his dukedom: “Through all the signiories it was the first." Burghers are citizens. So, in As You Like It, Act ii scene 1, the deer in the Forest of Arden, “poor dappled fools,” are spoken of as “ being native burghers of this desert city.'

6

8

Or, as it were, the pageants 5 of the sea, -
Do overpeer the petty traffickers,
That curtsy to them, do them reverence,
As they fly by them with their woven wings.

Sol. Believe me, sir, had I such venture forth,
The better part of my affections would
Be with my hopes abroad. I should be still
Plucking the grass, to know where sits the wind;
Peering in maps for ports, and piers, and roads ;?
And every object that might make me fear
Misfortune to my ventures, out of doubt,
Would make me sad.
Sal.

My wind, cooling my broth,
Would blow me to an ague, when I thought
What harm a wind too great might do at sea.
I should not see the sandy hour-glass run,
But I should think of shallows and of flats;
And see my wealthy Andrew dock'd in sand,
Vailing her high-top lower than her ribs,
To kiss her burial. Should I go to church,
And see the holy edifice of stone,
And not bethink me straight of dangerous rocks,
Which, touching but my gentle vessel's side,
Would scatter all her spices on the stream ;
Enrobe the roaring waters with my silks ;
And, in a word, but even now worth this,
And now worth nothing ? Shall I have the though:
To think on this, and shall I lack the thought,
That such a thing bechanc'd would make me sad ?
But tell not me: I know Antonio
Is sad to think upon his merchandise.

Ant. Believe me, no: I thank my fortune for it,
My ventures are not in one bottom trusted, 10
Nor to one place; nor is my whole estate
Upon the fortune of this present year:
Therefore my merchandise makes me not sad.

5 Pageants were shows of various kinds, theatrical and others; from a word originally meaning, it is said, a high stage or scaffold. Pageants of great splendour, with gay barges and other paraphernalia, used to be held upon the Thames. Leicester had a grand pageant exhibited before Queen Elizabeth, on the water at Kenilworth Castle, when she visited him there in 1575; described in Scott's Kenilworth. Perhaps our Fourth-of-July fireworks come as near to it as any thing now in nise.

6 Venture is what is risked'; exposed to “the peril of waters, winds, and rocks.” Still, second line below, has the sense of continually.

7 Roads are anchorages; places where ships ride at anchor safely.

8 Dock'd in sand is stranded. — Italian ships were apt to be named from Andrea Doria, the great Genoese Admiral.

9 To vail is to lower, to let fill.
19 A botlom is a transport-ship, or merchant-man.

Fie, fie!

Sal. Why, then you are in love.
Ant.

Sal. Not in love neither? Then let's say, you're sad,
Because you are not merry; and ’twere as easy
For you to laugh and leap, and say you're merry
'Cause you're not sad. Now, by two-headed Janus, '1
Nature hath fram'd strange fellows in her time:
Some that will evermore peep through their eyes,
And laugh like parrots at a bag-piper;
And other of such vinegar aspect,12
That they'll not show their teeth in way of smile,
Though Nestor swear the jest be laughable. 3

Sol. Here comes Bassanio, your most noble kinsman,
Gratiano, and Lorenzo. Fare ye well:
We leave you now with better company.

Sal. I would have stay'd till I had made you merry,
If worthier friends had not prevented me.14

Ant. Your worth is very dear in my regard.
I take it, your own business calls on you,
And
you

embrace th' occasion to depart.

Enter BASSANIO, LORENZO, and GRATIANO. Sal. Good morrow, my good lords.

Bass. Good signiors both, when shall we laugh? say, when? You grow exceeding strange: 15 must it be so? Sal. We'll make our leisures to attend on yours.

[Exeunt SALAR. and SOLAN. Lor. My Lord Bassanio, since you've found Antonio, We two will leave you; but at dinner-time, I pray you, have in mind where we must meet. Bass. I will not fail you.

Gra. You look not well, Signior Antonio; You have too much respect upon the world : 18

11 Janus, the old Latin Sun-god, who gave the name to the month of January, is here called two-headed, because he had two faces, one on either side of his head. There is also an allusion to certain antique two-faced images, one face being grave, the other merry, or a gloomy Saturn on one side, and a laughing Apollo on the other.

12 In Shakespeare and other writers of the time, aspect generally has the accent on the second syllable. — Other, the singular form, was sometimes used with the plural sense. 13 Nestor was the oldest and gravest of the Greek heroes in the Trojan

The severest faces might justly laugh at what he should pronounce laughable.

14 Prevented, in old language, is anticipated. To prevent is literally to go before. So in the Prayer-Book, 17th Sunday after Trinity: “That thy grace may always prevent and follow us."

15 Strange is distant, stranger-like.

16 The Poet often uses respect for consideration. So, in King Lear, i. 1: “Love's not love, when it is mingled with respects that stand aloof from th'

war.

They ose it that do buy it with much care.
Believe me, you are marvellously chang’d.

Ant. I hold the world but as the world, Gratiano;
A stage, where every man must play a part,
And mine a sad one.
Gra.

Let me play the Fool: 13
With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come;
And let my liver rather heat with wine
Than

my

heart cool with mortifying groans.
Why should a man, whose blood is warm within,
Sit like his grandsire cut in alabaster?
Sleep when he wakes ? and creep into the jaundice
By being peevish? I tell thee what, Antonio,-
I love thee, and it is my love that speaks,
There are a sort of men whose visages
Do cream and mantle like a standing pond;
And do a wilful stillness entertain,
With purpose to be dress'd in an opinion
Of wisdom, gravity, profound conceit; 18
As who should say, I am Sir Oracle,
And when I ope my lips, let no dog bark !
O my Antonio! I do know of these,
That therefore only are reputed wise
For saying nothing; who,19 I'm very sure,
If they should speak, would almost damn those ears,
Which, hearing them, would call their brothers fools.
I'll tell thee more of this another time:
But fish not, with this melancholy bait,
For this fool-gudgeon, this opinion. -
Come, good Lorenzo. Fare ye well, awhile :
I'll end my exhortation after dinner.

Lor. Well, we will leave you, then, till dinner-time.
I must be one of these same dumb wise men,
For Gratiano never lets me speak.

Gra. Well, keep me company but two years more, Thou shalt not know the sound of thine own tongue. entire point." Near the end of this play, we have respective for considerctive.

17 To play the Fooi is, in Gratiano's sense, to act such a part as that of Touchstone in As You Like It.

18 Conceit for conception or thought. See page 87, note 5.

19 All the old copies have when instead of who, thus leaving would damn without a subject. -- The following lines refer to the judgment pronounced in the Gospel against him who " says to his brother, Thou fool.” 'The meaning, therefore, is, that if those who "only are reputed wise for saying nothing" should go to talking, they would be apt to damn their hearers, by provoking them to utter this reproach. Fool-qudgerm, a little below, appears to mean such a fish as any fool might catch, or none but fools would care to catch. Gudgeon was the name of a small fish very easily caught.

20

21

Ant. Farewell : I'll grow a talker for this gear.

Gra. Thanks, i’ faith; for silence is only commendable In a neat's tongue dried, and a maid not vendible.2

[Exeunt GRATIA. and LOREN. Ant. Is that any thing now?

Bass. Gratiano speaks an infinite deal of nothing, more than any man in all Venice: His reasons are as two grains of wheat hid in two bushels of chaff: you shall seek all day ere you find them; and when you have them, they are not worth the search.

Ant. Well; tell me now, what lady is the same
To whom you swore a secret pilgrimage,
That you to-day promis'd to tell me of ?

Bass. 'Tis not unknown to you, Antonio,
How much I have disabled mine estate,
By something showing a more swelling port 22
Than my faint means would grant continuance:
Nor do I now make moan to be abridg’d
From such a noble rate; but

my

chief care
Is to come fairly off from the great debts
Wherein my time, something too prodigal,
Hath left me gag’d. To you, Antonio,
I owe the most, in money and in love;
And from your love I have a warranty
T' unburden all my plots and purposes,
How to get clear of all the debts I owe.

Ant. I pray you, good Bassanio, let me know it;
And if it stand, as you yourself still do,
Within the eye of honour, be assur’d,
My purse, my person, my extremest means
Lie all unlock'd to your occasions.

Bass. In my school-days, when I had lost one shaft,
I shot his fellow of the self-same flight
The self-same way with more advised watch,25
To find the other forth ; and, by adventuring both,

24

20 Gear was often used of any business, matter, or affair in hand.

21 Not good for the matrimonial market, unless she have the rare gift of silence to recommend her, or to make up for the lack of other attractions.

22 Port is bearing, carriage, behaviour. — Next line, “ continuance of.

28 Gag'd is pledged. So in 1 Henry IV. i. 3: " That men of your nobility and power did gage them both in an unjust behalf.”

24 Arrows were variously formed for different ranges. A shaft“ of the self-same flight” was an arrow made for shooting the same distance. His for its, which was not then a legitimate word. See page 53, note 22.

25 Advised is careful deliberate. So Bacon say that judges ought to be more advised than confidant." Observe, especially, that in the text as here set forth, - and it is the same in the old copies, in all such words, ed, when printed in full, except in words ending in ied, always makes a syllable by itself, and is required by the verse to be so. See page 39, note 6.

« ZurückWeiter »