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SCENE 1. Belmont. A Room in Portia's House.
Flourish of Cornets. Enter the Prince of Morocco,
and his Train; PORTIA, NERISSA, and other of her Attendants.
Mor. Mislike me not for my complexion,
Por. In terms of choice I am not solely led
? To prove whose blood is reddest, his, or mine.] To understand how the tawny prince, whose savage dignity is very well supported, means to recommend himself by this challenge, it must be remembered that red blood is a traditionary sign of courage: Thus Macbeth calls one of his frighted soldiers, a lily-liver'd boy; again, in this play, cowards are said to have livers as white as milk; and an effeminate and timorous man is termed a milksop.
Johnson. * Hath fear’d the valiant;] i. e, terrify'd. To fear is often used by our old writers, in this sense.
Yourself, renowned prince, then stood as fair,
Even for that I thank you;
You must take your chance;
way of marriage; therefore be advis'd.* Mor. Nor will not; come, bring me unto my
chance. Por. First, forward to the temple; after dinner Your hazard shall be made. Mor.
Good fortune then! [Cornets. To make me bless't, or cursed'st among men.
- therefore be advis'd.) Therefore be not precipitant; consider well what you are to do. Advis'd is the word opposite to rash.
Venice. A Street.
Enter LAUNCELOT GOBBO, Laun. Certainly my conscience will serve me to run from this Jew, my master: The fiend is at mine elbow; and tempts me, saying to me, Gobbo, Launcelot Gobbo, good Launcelot, or good Gobbo, or good Launcelot Gobbo, use your legs, take the start, run away: My conscience says,-no; take heed honest Launcelot; take heed, honest Gobbo; or, as aforesaid, honest Launcelot Gobbo; do not run ; scorn running with thy heels: Well, the most courageous fiend bids me pack; via! says the fiend; away! says the fiend, for the heavens; rouse up a brave mind, says the fiend, and run. Well, my conscience, hanging about the neck of my heart, says very wisely to me,-my honest friend Launcelot, being an honest man's son,-or rather an honest woman's son ;-for, indeed, my father did something smack, something grow to, he had a kind of taste;-well, my conscience says, Launcelot, budge not; budge, says the fiend; budge not, says my conscience: Conscience, say I, you counsel well; fiend, say I, you counsel well: to be ruled by my conscience, I should stay with the Jew my master, who, (God bless the mark !) is a kind of devil; and, to run away from the Jew, I should be ruled by the fiend, who, saving your reverence, is the devil himself: Certainly, the Jew is the very devil incarnation; and, in my conscience, my conscience is but a kind of hard conscience, to offer to counsel me to stay with the Jew : The fiend gives the more friendly counsel: I will run, fiend; my heels are at your commandment, I will run.
Enter old GOBBO, with a Basket. Gob. Master, young man, you, I pray you; which is the way to master Jew's?
Laun. [ Aside.] O heavens, this is my true begotten father! who, being more than sand-blind, high-gravel blind, knows me not:- I will try conclusions with him.
Gob. Master young gentleman, I pray you, which is the way to master Jew's?
Laun. Turn up on your right hand, at the next turning, but, at the next turning of all, on your left; marry, at the very next turning, turn of no hand, but turn down indirectly to the Jew's house.
Gob. By God's sonties, 'twill be a hard way to hit. Can you tell me whether one Launcelot, that dwells with him, dwell with him, or no?
Laun. Talk you of young master Launcelot ?Mark me now; [aside.] now will I raise the waters:-Talk you of young master Launcelot ?
Gob. No master, sir, but a poor' man's son; his father, though I say it, is an honest exceeding poor man, and, God be thanked, well to live.
Laun. Well, let his father be what he will, we talk of young master Launcelot.
Gob. Your worship's friend, and Launcelot, sir.
Laun. But I pray you ergo, old man, ergo, I beseech
young master Launcelot? Gob. Of Launcelot, an't please your mastership.
Laun. Ergo, master Launcelot; talk not of master Launcelot, father; for the young gentleman (according to fates and destinies, and such odd sayings, the sisters three, and such branches of learning,) is, indeed, deceased; or, as you would say, in plain terms, gone to heaven.
-try conclusions-] To try conclusions is to try experiments.
Gob. Marry, God forbid! the boy was the very staff of my age, my very prop.
Laun. Do I look like a cudgel, or a hovel-post, a staff, or a prop?-Do you know me, father?
Gob. Alack the day, I know you not, young gentleman: but, I pray you, tell me, is my boy, (God rest his soul!) alive, or dead?
Laun. Do you not know me, father?
Laun. Nay, indeed, if you had your eyes, you might fail of the knowing me: it is a wise father, that knows his own child. Well, old man, I will tell you news of your son: Give me your blessing: truth will come to light; murder cannot be hid long, a man's son may; but, in the end, truth will out.
Gob. Pray you, sir, stand up; I am sure, you are not Launcelot, my boy.
Laun. Pray you, let's have no more fooling about it, but give me your blessing; I am Launcelot, your boy that was, your son that is, your child that shall
Gob. I cannot think, you are my son.
Laun. I know not what I shall think of that: but I am Launcelot, the Jew's man; and, I am sure, Margery, your wife, is
mother. Gob. Her name is Margery, indeed: I'll be sworn, if thou be Launcelot, thou art mine own flesh and blood. Lord worshipp'd might he be! what a beard hast thou got! thou hast got more hair on thy chin, than Dobbin my thill-horse has on his tail.
Laun. It should seem then, that Dobbin's tail grows backward; I am sure he had more hair on his tail, than I have on my face, when I last saw him.
Gob. Lord, how art thou changed! How dost
my thill-horse-] Thill or fill, means the shafts of a cart or waggon.