« PreviousContinue »
Salan. Believe me, sir, had I such venture forth,
My wind, cooling my broth,
6 Plucking the grase, &c.] By holding up the grass, or any light body that will bend by a gentle blast, the direction of the wind is found.
“This way I used in shooting. When I was in the mydde way betwixt the markes, which was an open place, there I toke a fe. there, or a lyttle light grasse, and so learned how the winde stood." Ascham. Johnson.
7 Peering - ] Thus the old quarto printed by Hayes, that by Roberts, and the first folio. The quarto of 1637, a book of no authority, reads--prying. Malone.
- Andrew -] The name of the ship. Johnson.
-dock'd in sand,] The old copies have—docks. Correct. ed by Mr. Rowe. Malone.
1 Vailing her high top lower than her ribs,] In Bullokar's English Expositor, 1616, to vail, is thus explained: “ It means to put off the hat, to strike sail, to give sign of submission.” So, in Stephen Gosson's book, called Pla es confutel in several Actions :
“ They might have vailed and bended to the king's idol." It signifies also-to lower, to let down. Thus, in the ancient metrical romance of The Sowion of Bab; loyne, p. 60:
“ Thay avalei the brigge and lete them yn." Again, (as Mr. Douce observes to me) in Hardynge's Chronicle:
" And by th' even their sayles avaled were set.” Steevens.
And, in a word, but even now worth this,
Ant. Believe me, no: I thank my fortune for it,
Salan. Why then you are in love.
Enter BASSANIO, LORENZO, and GRATIANO. Salan. Here comes Bassanio, your most noble kins
man, Gratiano, and Lorenzo: Fare you well;
Now, by two-headed Fanus,] Here Shakspeare shews his knowledge in the antique. By two-headed Janus is meant those antique bifrontine heads, which generally represent a young and smiling face, together with an old and wrinkled one, being of Pan and Bacchus; of Saturn and Apollo, &c. These are not uncommon in collections of Antiques: and in the books of the antiquaries, as Montfaucon, Spanheim, &c. Warburton.
Here, says Dr. Warburton, Shakspeare shows his knowledge of the antique: and so does Taylor the water poet, who describes Fortune, “Like a Janus with a double face.” Farmer.
- peep through their e es,] This gives a very picturesque image of tlie countenance in laughing, when the eyes appear balf shut. Wurburton.
their teeth in way of smile,] Because such are apt enou to show their teeth in anger. Warburton.
We leave you now with better company.
Salar. I would have staid till I had made you merry, If worthier friends had not prevented me.
Ant. Your worth is very dear in my regard.
Salar. Good morrow, my good lords.
when? You grow exceeding strange: Must it be so? Salar. We'll make our leisures to attend on yours.
[Exeunt SALAR. and Salan, Lor. My lord Bassanio,s since you have found Antonio, We two will leave you: but, at dinner-time, I pray you, have in mind where we must meet. Ba88. I will not fail you.
Gra. You look not well, signior Antonio;
Ant. I hold the world but as the world, Gratiano;
6 My lord Bassanio, &c.] This speech (which by Mr. Rowe and subsequent editors was allotted to Salanio] is given to Lorenzo in the old copies: and Salarino and Salanio make their exit at the close of the preceding speech, which is certainly right. Lorenzo (who, with Gratiano, had only accompanied Bassanio, till he should find' Antonio) prepares now to leave Bassanio to his business; but is detained by Gratiano, who enters into a con. versation with Antonio. Tyrwhitt.
I have availed myself of this judicious correction, by restoring the speech to Lorenzo, and marking the exits of Salarino and Sao lanio at the end of the preceding speech. Steevens.
lose it,] All the ancient copies readloose ; a misprint, I suppose, for the word standing in the text. Steevens.
? A stage, where every man must play a part,] The ne though occurs in Churchyard's Farewel to the World, 1593:
“ A worldling here, I must hie to my grave;
“A skaffold plaine," &c. Again, in Sidney's Arcadia, B. II:
“She found the world but a wearisome stage to her, where she played a part against her will.” Steevens.
Let me play the Fool:8 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; 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, I am very sure,' If they should speak, would almost damn those ears,
8 Let me play the Fool:] Alluding to the common comparison of human life to a stage-play. So that he desires his may be the fool's or buffoon's part, which was a constant character in the old farces; from whence came the phrase, to play the fool.
Warburton. 9 There are a sort of men, whose visages
Do cream-] The poet here alludes to the manner in which the film extends itself over milk in scalding; and he had the same appearance in his eye when writing a foregoing line :
“ With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come.” So, also, the author of Bussy d'Ambois :
“Not any wrinkle creaming in their faces.” Henley.
a wilful stillness - ] i. e. an obstinate silence. Malone.
let no dog bark!] This seems to be a proverbial expression. So, in Acolastus, à comedy, 1540: “ - nor there shall no dogge bark at mine ententes." Steevens.
- who, I am very sure,] The old copies read—when, I am very sure.
Corrected by Mr. Rowe. Malone.
would almost damn those ears,] Several old editions have it, dam, damme, and daunt. Some more correct copies, damn. The author's meaning is this: That some people are thought wise, wħilst they keep silence; who, when they open their mouths, are such stupid praters, that the hearers cannot help calling them fools, and so incur the judgment denounced in the Gospel. Theobald.
Which, hearing them, would call their brothers, fools.
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.
Ant. Farewel: I'll grow a talker for this gear.s
Gra. Thanks, i' faith; for silence is only commendable In a neat's tongue dried, and a maid not vendible.
[Exeunt Gra. and LOR. 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
5.I'll end my exhortation after dinner.] The humour of this consists in its being an allusion to the practice of the puritan preachers of those times; who, being generally very long and tedious; were often forced to put off that part of their sermon called the exhortation, till afier dinner. Warburton.
6 - for this gear. ] In Act II, sc. ii, the same phrase occurs again: " If fortune be a woman, she 's a good wench for this
This is a colloquial expression perhaps of no very determined import. Steevens.
So, in Sapho and Phao, a comedy by Lyly, 1591: “ As for you, Sir boy, I will teach you how to run away; you shall be stript from top to toe, and whipt with nettles; I will handle you for this gearc well: I say no more." Again, in Nashe's Epistle Dedicatory to his Apologie of Pierce Pennilesse, 1593: “I mean to trounce him after twenty in the hundred, and have a bout with him, with two staves and a pike, for this geare.” Malone.
? Is that any thing now?] All the old copies read, is that any thing now? I suppose we should read is that any thing new?
Fohnson. The sense of the old reading is-Does what he has just said amount to any thing, or mean any thing? Steevens.
Surely the reading of the old copies is right. Antonio asks: Is that any thing now? and Bassanio answers, that Gratiano speaks an infinite deal of nothing,—the greatest part of his discourse is not any thing. Tyrwhitt.
So, in Othello: “Can any thing be made of this?” The old copies, by a manifest error of the press, read-It is that, &c. Corrected by Mr. Rowe. Malonc.