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80 A stage where every man must play a part, |
And mine a sad one.]

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

Than my heart cool with mortifying groans.]
85 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 : 1 90 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 ;]
95 As who should say, “ I am Sir Oracle, I.

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,) [I am very sure,] 100 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.]
105 Come, good Lorenzo :]— Fare ye well, a while ; |

I'll end my exhortation after dinner. |

Lor. Well, we will leave you then till dinner-time : 1 82. old wrinkles, i.e., wrinkles of age.

93. Opinion, scil., of others, i.e., reputa90. There are a sort.-Strictly an ungrammatical phrase ; but the verb is often 94. Conceit.-From Latin concipio. Forattracted into the plural by the sense of the merly used in the sense of thought, idea, noun, though the form of it is singular. Latin conceptus. Compare Milton's Paradise Lost, v. 212,- 97. I do know of these. Of these is bere A row of fruit-trees reached their boughs.” the partitive pronoun, in the sense of some.

Compare 91. Do cream and mantle.-Put on a sur- 100. Damn.-No doubt an allusion to face. See Cowper's Task, 1. 684, note.


ilton's Paradise Lost, 1. 650.

Matt. v. 22.

I must be one of these same dumb wise men,

For Gratiano never lets me speak. 110 Gra. Well, keep me company but two years more,]

Thou shalt not know the sound of thine own tongue.

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.

[Exeunt GRATIANO and LORENZO. 115 Ant. Is that anything now? |

Bass. Gratiano speaks an infinite deal of nothing, more than any man in all Venice : His reasons are 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 promised to tell me of ?

Bass. 'Tis not unknown to you, Antonio, | 120 How much I have disabled mine estate,

By something showing a more swelling port |
Than my faint means would grant continuance ; |
Nor do I now make moan to be abridged

From such a noble rate ;| but my chief care 125 Is to come fairly off from the great debts |

Wherein my time, something too prodigal,
Hath left me gaged : To you, Antonio,
I owe the most in money and in love ; |

112. Gear.-From Saxon, gyrian, to prepare. It means properly a preparation or apparatus, thence dress, thence generally matter or purpose. For this gear, is a colloquial idiom for “as far as this matter goes," or "for this purpose.”

115. Does that mean anything? Bassanio's answer declares it to be all nothing.

116. In the word pilgrimage lies an alluson to lady, as our Lady, or the Virgin.

120. Mine estate.--To avoid a hiatus, Shakspere generally uses mine instead of my

before a vowel. We have retained this in a few expresssions, such as mine host, mine inn. See Cowper's Task, 1. 251.

121. Port.-Appearance. The sense is, I have fallen into debt by living too expensively.

123. To be abridged, i.e., for being abridged. Adjunct to make moan. Compare a similar Infin., Milton's Paradise Lost, I. 604.

126. Time-Life.
127. Gaged Pledged.

And from your love I have a warranty 130 To unburthen 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)
135 My purse, my person, my extremest means,

Lie all unlock'd to your occasions. I

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
140 To find the other forth ;) and by adventuring both

I oft found both :| I urge this childhood proof, |
Because what follows is pure innocence. I
I owe you much ;| and, like a wilful youth,

That) which I owe is lost ;) but) if you please 145 To shoot another arrow that self way |

Which you did shoot the first, | I do not doubt)
As I will watch the aim, | or to find both
Or bring your latter hazard back again,

And thankfully rest debtor for the first.) 150 Ant. You know me well ;; and herein spend but time,

To wind about my love with circumstance ;]
Aud, out of doubt, you do me now more wrong
In making question of my uttermost, |

Than if you had made waste of all I have.] 155 Then do but say to me) what I should do,

That in your knowledge may by me be done, |
And I am prest unto it :/ therefore speak.]

Bass. In Belinont is a lady richly left,|

133. Still.-Always.

136. Occasions.---To be read as a word of four syllables. See oceans, 8.

138. His was formerly neuter as well as masculine. Its occurs very rarely in Shakspere. See Craik, Julius Cæsar, 54.

140. Forth.- To be joined with shot, 138. 143. Like a wilful youth.-Very elliptical


for “as is natural in the case of a wilful youth."

147. Shakspere uses or--or for either-or, and nor-nor for neither-nor.

151. To wind about my love with circumstance. --Adjunct of manner explanatory of herein.

157. Prest. ---Ready. Ital. presto.

And she is fair, and) [fairer than that word,
160 Of wond'rous virtues.) Sometimes from her eyes

I did receive fair speechless messages :
Her name is Portia ; nothing undervalued
To Cato's daughter, Brutus' Portia.

Nor is the wide world ignorant of her worth ;| 165 For the four winds blow in from every coast

Renowned suitors :/ and her sunny locks
Hang on her temples like a golden fleece ; |
Which makes her seat of Belmont Colchos strand, 1

And many Jasons come in quest of her. | 170 O, my Antonio ! had I but the means

To hold a rival place with one of them, |
I have a mind| presages me such thrift,
That I should questionless be fortunate.

Ant. Thou know'st that all my fortunes are at sea ; | 175 Neither have I money, nor commodity

To raise a present sum :| therefore go forth,]
Try] what my credit can in Venice do ; |
That shall be rack’d, even to the uttermost,

To furnish thee to Belmont, to fair Portia. | 180 Go,] presently inquire,] and so will 1,]

Where money is ; | and I no question make,
To have it of my trust, or for my sake. | [Exeunt.


Scene II. opens at Belmont, and is entirely taken up by a conversation in prose between Portia and her waiting-maid. In this conversation, the merits of the different suitors are canvassed in a somewhat lively manner; and Portia's preference for Bassanio very clearly indicated. We pass over this to Scene III.

159. Fairer than that word, i.e., and what is better still than fair.

160. Sometimes, i.e., formerly.

162. Her name is Portia.-In analysing this as part of the sentence we must take it as equivalent to she is called Portia, so that

the following Partic. undervalued may refer to she.

172. Presages me.-Supply the Suhj. which.

180. Presently has the original meaning of now, this instant, à présenta


Venice.A public Place.


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Shy. Three thousand ducats,—well.*
Bass. Ay, sir, for three months.
Shy. For three months,—well.

Bass. For the which, as I told you, Antonio shall be bound.

Shy. Antonio shall become bound,—well,

Bass. May you steadt me? Will you pleasure me ? Shall I know your answer ?

Shy. Three thousand ducats, for three months, and Antonio bound.

Bass. Your answer to that.
Shy. Antonio is a good man.
Bass. Have you heard any imputation to the contrary?

Shy. Oh no, no, no, no ;-my meaning in saying he is a good man is, to have you understand me that he is sufficient : yet his means are in supposition :8 he hath an argosy bound to Tripolis, another to the Indies ; I understand, moreover, upon the Rialto, he hath a third at Mexico, a fourth for England ; and other ventures he hath, squandered abroad. But ships are but boards, sailors but men : there be land-rats and water-rats, water-thieves and land-thieves

-I mean, pirates ; and then, there is the peril of waters, winds, and rocks : The man is, notwithstanding, sufficient; —three thousand ducats ;-—I think I may take his bond.

Bass. Be assured you may.

Shy. I will be assured I may ; and that I may be assured I will bethink me : may I speak with Antonio ?

Bass. If it please you to dine with us.

* Shy. Three thousand ducats, scil. is what you want. This indicates that the scene opens in the midst of the conversation.

+ Slead-now obsoleto-to help.

Sufficient.--Solvent. § In supposition. In question.

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