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THE MERCHANT OF VENICE.
DUKE of Venice.
LAUNCELOT GOBBO, a Clown, Servant to Prince of Morocco, } Suitors to Portia.
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
SCENE, partly at Venice, and partly at Belmont.
ACT I. SCENE I. Venice. A Street.
Enter ANTONIO, SALARINO, and SOLANO.1
Sal. Your mind is tossing on the ocean ;
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.
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.'
Or, as it were, the pageants 5 of the sea, -
Sol. Believe me, sir, had I such venture forth,
My wind, cooling my broth,
Ant. Believe me, no: I thank my fortune for it,
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.
Sal. Why, then you are in love.
Sal. Not in love neither? Then let's say, you're sad,
Sol. Here comes Bassanio, your most noble kinsman,
Sal. I would have stay'd till I had made you merry,
Ant. Your worth is very dear in my regard.
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'
They ose it that do buy it with much care.
Ant. I hold the world but as the world, Gratiano;
Let me play the Fool: 13
heart cool with mortifying groans.
Lor. Well, we will leave you, then, till dinner-time.
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.
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
Bass. 'Tis not unknown to you, Antonio,
Ant. I pray you, good Bassanio, let me know it;
Bass. In my school-days, when I had lost one shaft,
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.