« PreviousContinue »
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 this 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, I shot his fellow' of the self-same flight
- a more swelling port &c.] Port, in the present instance, comprehends the idea of expensive equipage, and external pomp of appearance. Thus, in the first Iliad, as translated by Chapman, 1611:
all the gods receivid, “(All rising from their thrones) their sire; attending to
his court “ None sate when he rose; none delaid, the furnishing
“ Till he came neare: all met with him and brought him
to his throne.” Steevens. when I had lost one shaft, I shot his fellow &c.] This thought occurs also in Decker's Villanies discovered by Lanthorne and Candlelight, &c. 410. bl. 1: “ And yet I have seene a Creditor in Prison weepe when he beheld the Debtor, and to lay out money of his owne purse to free him: he shot a second arroz to find the first." I learn, from a MS. note by Qldys, that of this pamphlet there were no less
The self-same way, with more advised watch,
did shoot the first, I do not doubt,
Ant. You know me well; and herein spend but time,
Bass. In Belmont is a lady richly left, And she is fair, and, fairer than that word,
than eight editions; the last in 1638. I quote from that of 1616.
Steevens. This method of finding a lost arrow is prescribed by P. Cres. centius in his Treatise de Agricultura, Lib. X, cap. xxviii, and is also mentioned in Howei's Letters, Vol. I, p. 183, edit. 1655, 12mo. Douce.
like a wilful youth,] This does not at all agree with what he had before promised, that what followed should be pure innocence. For wilfulness is not quite so pure. We should read witless, i. e. heedless; and this agrees exactly to that to which he compares his case, of a school-boy; who, for want of advised watch, lost his first arrow, and sent another after it with more attention. But wilful agrees not at all with it. Warburton.
Dr. Warburton confounds the time past and present. He has formerly lost his money like a wilfi:l youth; he now borrows more in pure innocence, without disguising his former faults, or his present designs. Johnson.
- prest unto it:) Prest may not here signify impress'd, as into military service, but reiuly. Pret, Fr. So, in Cesar and Pompey, 1607:
“What must be, must be; Cæsar's prest for all.” Again, in Hans Beer.pot, &c. 1618:
-your good word
Of wond'rous virtues; sometimes from her eyes 3
Ant. Thou know'st, that all my fortunes are at sea;
Belmont. A Room in Portia's House.
Enter PORTIA and NERISSA. Por. By my troth, Nerissa, my little body is aweary of this great world.
Ner. You would be, sweet madam, if your miseries were in the same abundance as your good fortunes are: And, yet, for aught I see, they are as sick, that surfeit with too much, as they that starve with nothing: It is
- sometimes from her eyes ---) So all the editions ; but it certainly ought to be, sometime, i. e. formerly, some time ago, at a certain time: and it appears by the subsequent scene, that Bassanio was at Belmont with the Marquis de Montferrat, and saw Portia in her father's life time. Theobald.
It is strange, Mr. Theobald did not know, that in old English, sometimes is synonymous with formerly. Nothing is more frequent in title-pages, than “ sometimes fellow of such a college."
no mean happiness therefore, to be seated in the mean; superfluity comes sooner by white hairs, but competency lives longer.
Por. Good sentences, and well pronounced.
Por. If to do were as easy as to know what were good to do, chapels had been churches, and poor men's cottages, princes' palaces. It is a good divine that follows his own instructions: I can easier teach twenty what were good to be done, than be one of the twenty to follow mine own teaching. The brain may devise laws for the blood; but a hot temper leaps over a cold decree: such a hare is madness the youth, to skip o'er the meshes of good counsel the cripple. But this reasoning is not in the fashion to choose me a husband:-0 me, the word choose! I may neither choose whom I would, nor refuse whom I dislike; so is the will of a living daughter curb’d by the will of a dead father:--Is it not hard, Nerissa, that I cannot choose one, nor refuse none?
Ner. Your father was ever virtuous; and holy men, at their death have good inspirations; therefore, the lottery, that he hath devised in these three chests, of gold, silver, and lead, (whereof who chooses his meaning, chooses you) will, no doubt, never be chosen by any rightly, but one who you shall rightly love. But what warmth is there in your affection towards any of these princely suitors that are already come?
Por. I pray thee, over-name them; and as thou namest them, I will describe them; and according to my description, level at my affection.
Ner. First, there is the Neapolitan prince.5
- superfluity comes sooner by white hairs,] i. e. Superfuity sooner acquires white hairs; becomes old. We still say, How did he come by it? Malone.
the Neapolitan prince.] The Neapolitans in the time of Shakspeare, were eminently skilled in all that belongs to horsemanship; nor have they, even now, forfeited their title to the same praise. Steevens.
Though our author, when he composed this play, could not have read the following passage in Florio's translation of Montaigne's Essaies, 1603, he had perhaps met with the relation in some other book of that time: “ While I was a young lad, (says old Montaigne) I saw the prince of Salmona, at Naples, manage
Por. Ay, that 's a colt, indeed, for he doth nothing but talk of his horse;6 and he makes it a great appropriation to his own good parts, that he can shoe him himself: I am much afraid, my lady his mother played false with a smith.
Ner. Then, is there the county Palatine.?
Por. He doth nothing but frown; as who should say, An if you will not have me, choose: he hears merry tales, and smiles not: I fear, he will prove the weeping philosopher when he grows old, being so full of unmannerly sadness in his youth. I had rather be married to a death's head with a bone in his mouth, than to either of these. God defend me from these two!
Ner. How say you by the French lord, Monsieur Le Bon?
Por. God made him, and therefore let him pass for a man. In truth, I know it is a sin to be a mocker; But, he! why, he hath a horse better than the Neapolitan's; a better bad habit of frowning than the count Palatine: he is every man in no man; if a throst!e8 sing, he falls
a young, a rough, and fierce horse, and show all manner of horsemanship; to hold testons or reals under his knees and toes 80 fast as if they had been nayled there, and all to show his sure, steady, and unmoveable sitting.” Malone.
- Ay, that's a colt, indeed, for he doth nothing but talk of his horse;] Colt is used for a witless, heady, gay youngster, whence the phrase used of an old man too juvenile, that he still retains his colt's tooth. See Henry VIII, Act I, sc. iii. See also Love's Labour's Lost, Act III, sc. i. Johnson.
is there the county Palatine.] I am almost inclined to be. lieve, that Shakspeare has more allusions to particular facts and persons than his readers commonly suppose. The count here mentioned was, perhaps, Albertus a Lasco, a Polish Palatine, who visited England in our author's life-time, was eagerly caressed, and splendidly entertained; but running in debt, at last stole away, and endeavoured to repair his fortune by enchantment. Johnson.
County and Count in old language were synonymous.- The Count Alasco was in London in 1583. Malone.
- if a throstle – ] Old copies-trassel. Corrected by Mr. Pope. The throstle is the thrush. The word occurs again in A Midsummer Night's Dream:
" The throstle with his note so true." Malone. That the throstle is a distinct bird from the thrush, may be known from T. Newton's Herball to the Bible, quoted in a note on