Page images

'scapes! Well, if fortune be a woman, she's a good wench for this gear.–Father, come; I 'll take my leave of the Jew in the twinkling of an eye.

[Exeunt Laun. and old GoB.
Bass. I pray thee, good Leonardo, think on this;
These things being bought, and orderly bestow'd,
Return in haste, for I do feast to-night
My best-esteem'd acquaintance: hie thee, go.
Leon. My best endeavours shall be done herein.

Gra. Where is your master?

Yonder, sir, he walks.

[Exit LEON. Gra. Signior Bassanio, Bass. Gratiano! Gra. I have a suit to you. Bass.

You have obtain'd it. Gra. You must not deny me; I must go with you to Belmont.

Bass. Why, then you must;-But hear thee, Gratiano;
Thou art too wild, too rude, and bold of voice;
Parts, that become thee happily enough,
And in such eyes as ours appear not faults;
But where thou art not known, why, there they show
Something too liberal;5—pray thee, take pain
To allay with some cold drops of modesty
Thy skipping spirit;6 lest, through thy wild behaviour,
I be misconstrued in the place I go to,
And lose my hopes.

Signior Bassanio, hear me:
If I do not put on a sober habit,
Talk with respect, and swear but now and then,


mieux étre tombée sur la point d'un Oreiller, & m'être rompû le Cou Warburton.

5 Something too liberal;] Liberal I have already shown to be mean, gross, coarse, licentious. Johnson.

So, in Othello: “Is he not a most prophane and liberal coun. sellor?" Steevens.

allay with some cold drops of modesty
Thy skipping spirit;] So, in Hamlet:

“Upon the heat and flame of thy distemper
“ Sprinkle cool patience.” Steevens.

Wear prayer-books in my pocket, look demurely;
Nay more, while grace is saying, hood mine eyes?
Thus with my hat, and sigh, and say, amen;
Use all the observance of civility,
Like one well studied in a sad ostents
To please his grandam, never trust me more.

Lass. Well, we shall see your bearing.'

Gra. Nay, but I bar to-night; you shall not gage me
By what we do to-night.

No, that were pity;
I would entreat you rather to put on
Your boldest suit of mirth, for we have friends

purpose merriment: But fare you well, I have some business.

Gra. And I must to Lorenzo, and the rest; But we will visit you at supper-time.



The same.

A Room in Shylock's House.
Jes. I am sorry, thou wilt leave my father so;
Our house is hell, and thou, a merry devil,
Didst rob it of some taste of tediousness:
But fare thee well; there is a ducat for thee.
And, Launcelot, soon at supper shalt thou see
Lorenzo, who is thy new master's guest:
Give him this letter; do it secretly,
And so farewel; I would not have my




hood mine eyes -] Alluding to the manner of covering a hawk's eyes. So, in The Tragedy of Cræsus, 1604:

“ And like a hooded hawk,” &c. Steevens.

sad ostent -] Grave appearance; show of staid and serious behaviour. Fohnson.

Ostent is a word very commonly used for show among the old dramatick writers. So, in Heywood's Iron Age, 1632:

you in those times
“ Did not affect ostent.” Steevens.

your bearing.] Bearing is carriage, deportment. So, in Twelfth-Night:

“ Take and give back affairs, and their despatch,
“ With such a smooth, discreet, and stable bearing,"


See me talk with thee.

Luun. Adieu!-tears exhibit my tongue.Most beautiful pagan,-most sweet Jew! If a Christian do not play the knave, and get thee,? I am much deceived: But, adieu! these foolish drops do somewhat drown my manly spirit; adieu!

[Exit. Jes. Farewel, good Launcelot.Alack, what heinous sin is it in me, To be asham’d to be my father's child! But though I am a daughter to his blood, I am not to his manners: O Lorenzo, If thou keep promise, I shall end this strife; Become a Christian, and thy loving wife. [Exit.

[blocks in formation]


Lor. Nay, we will slink away in supper-time;
Disguise us at my lodging, and return
All in an hour.


and get thee,] I suspect that the waggish Launcelot designed this for a broken sentence—“and get thee”-implying, get thee with child. Mr. Malone, however, supposes him to mean oniy-carry thee away from thy father's house. Steevens.

I should not have attempted to explain so easy a passage, if the ignorant editor of the second folio, thinking probably that the word get must necessarily mean beget, had not altered the text, and substituted did in the place of do, the reading of all the old and authentick editions; in which he has been copied by every subsequent editor. Launcelot is not talking about Jessica's father, but abont her future husband. I am aware that, in a subse. quent scene, he says to Jessica: “Marry, you may partly hope your father got you not;" but he is now on another subject. Malone.

From the general censure expressed in the preceding note I take leave to exempt Mr.Reed; who, by following the first folio, was no sharer in the inexpiable guilt of the second. Steevens.

Notwithstanding Mr. Malone charges the editor of the second folio so strongly with ignorance, I have no doubt but that-did is the true reading, as it is clearly better sense than that which he has adopted. Launcelot does not mean to foretel the fate of Jessica, but judges, from her lovely disposition, that she must have been begotten by a christian, not by such a brute as Shylock: a christian might marry her without playing the knave, though he could not beget her. M. Mason.

Gra. We have not made good preparation.
Salar. We have not spoke us yet of torch-bearers.?

Salan. 'Tis vile, unless it may be quaintly order'd;
And better, in my mind, not undertook.

Lor. 'Tis now but four a-clock; we have two hours To furnish us:

Enter LAUNCELOT, with a letter.

Friend Launcelot, what's the news? Laun. An it shall please you to break up this, 3 it shall seem to signify.

Lor. I know the hand: in faith, 'tis a fair hand;
And whiter than the paper it writ on,
Is the fair hand that writ.

Love-news, in faith.
Laun. By your leave, sir.
Lor. Whither goest thou?

Laun. Marry, sir, to bid my old master the Jew to sup to-night with my new master the Christian.

Lor. Hold here, take this:-tell gentle Jessica, I will not fail her;-speak it privately; go. Gentlemen,

[Erit LAUN.
Will you prepare you for this masque to-night?
I am provided of a torch-bearer.

Salar. Ay, marry, I'll be gone about it straight.
Salan. And so will I.

Meet me, and Gratiano,
At Gratiano's lodging some hour hence.
Salar. 'Tis good we do so.

[Exeunt SALAR. and Salan. Gra. Was not that letter from fair Jessica?

Lor. I must needs tell thee all: She hath directed, How I shall take her from her father's house;

[ocr errors][ocr errors]


torch-bearers.] See the note in Romeo and Juliet, Act I, sc. iv. We have not spoke us yet, &c. i. e. we have not yet bespoke. us, &c. Thus the old copies. It may, however, mean, we have not as yet consulted on the subject of torch-bearers. Mr. Pope reads—“ spoke as yet.” Steevens.

to break up this,] To break up was a term in carving. So, in Love's Labour's Lost, Act III, sc. i:

· Boyet, you can carve; “ Break up this capon.” See the note on this passage. Steevens.


[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

What gold, and jewels, she is furnish'd with;
What page's suit she hath in readiness.
If e'er the Jew her father come to heaven,
It will be for his gentle daughter's sake:
And never dare misfortune cross her foot,
Unless she do it under this excuse,
That she is issue to a faithless Jew.
Come, go with me; peruse this, as thou goest:
Fair Jessica shall be my torch-bearer.

The same.

Before Shylock's House.
Shy. Well, thou shalt see, thy eyes shall be thy judge,
The difference of old Shylock and Bassanio:-
What, Jessica!-thou shalt not gormandize,
As thou hast done with me;- What, Jessica!
And sleep and snore, and rend apparel out;-
Why, Jessica, I say!

Why, Jessica!
Shy. Who bids thee call? I do not bid thee call.

Laun. Your worship was wont to tell me, I could do nothing without bidding.

Jes. Call you? What is your

Shy. I am bid forth * to supper, Jessica;
There are my keys:-But wherefore should I go?
I am not bid for love; they flatter me:
But yet I 'll go

in 'hate, to feed upon
The prodigal Christian.5-Jessica, my girl,


4 I am bid forth-] I am invited. To bid in old language meant to pray. Malore.

That bid was used for invitation, may be seen in St. Luke's Gospel, ch. xiv, 24: “— none of those which were bidden shall taste of my supper.” Harris.

- to feed upon

The prodigal Christian.] Shylock forgets his resolution. In a former scene he declares he will neither eat, drink, nor pray with Christians. Of this circumstance the poet was aware, and meant only to heighten the malignity of the character, by making him depart from his most settled resolve, for the prosecution of his revenge. Stecvens.

« PreviousContinue »