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Lor. I thank your honour : For my part,

my lord, is My purpose was not to have seen you here; But meeting with Salerio by the way,5 He did intreat me, past all saying nay, To come with him along. Sale.

I did, my lord, And I have reason for it. Signior Anthonio Commends him to you.

[Gives Bassanio, a lettera Bass.

Ere I ope his letter, I pray you, tell me how my good friend doth. Sale. Not sick, my lord, unless it be in

mind; Nor well, unless in mind:6 his letter there Will shew you his estate. Gra. Nerissa, cheer yon' stranger ;) bid her



5 But meeting with Salerio by the way,] Where Lorenzo was going when he was thus encountered, is not disclosed : He was, possibly, however, returning to Venice after his expedition to Genoa, if we may suppose Belmont to lie somewhere in, or near the road leading from the one to the other of these two cities. E.

6 Nor well, unless in mind :] Relates to his situation as most unhappy, if he be not comforted in his misfortunes, and supported by that fortitude of mind which is an attendant upon virtue and conscious innocence. E. 1.7 Nerissa, cheer yon' stranger ;] As the audience. Your hand, Salerio ; What's the news from


How doth that royal merchant, good An-

thonio ?
I know, he will be glad of our success ;
We are the. Jasons, we have won the fleece.
Sale. 'Would you had won the fleece that

he bath lost !8
Por. There are some shrewd contents in
yon' same paper,


were already apprized of Jessica's story, the open-
ing of it here to Portia would have been a superfluous
repetition. Nor could it be done properly while a
letter of such haste and consequence was to be de-
livered; and on which the main action of the play
depended. Jessica is, therefore, artfully compli-
mented in dumb shew, and no speech made to her,
because the Scene is drawn out to a great length by
more important business. THEOBALD.

8 Would you had won the fleece, &c.] He wishes,
we may suppose, that they had been able to preserve
that life which he has forfeited. E.

9 There are some shrewd contents, &c.] Among
the significations given of the word shrewd in John-
son's Dictionary we find these which follow " bad.
“ ill-betokening ;” also “ dangerous, mischievous ;">
any of which are suitable enough to this place.
Mr. Capell, as well as the edition of 1785, by re-
taining the verb steals in the singular, the reading
probably of all the older copies, seems to suppose
that it is the paper, and not the contents thereof,
that steals the colour, &c. In this way, however,
the expression suffers no inconsiderable diminution
of its elegance. I belive steals to be a printer's mis.
take. E.


That steal the colour from Bassanio's cheek. Some dear friend dead; else nothing in the

world Could turn so much the constitution Of any constant man. What, worse and

worse ? With leave, Bassanio ; I am half yourself, And I must freely have the half of any thing That this same paper brings you. Bass.

O sweet Portia, Here are a few of th' unpleasant'st words, That ever blotted paper! Gentle lady, When I did first impart my love to you, I freely told you, all the wealth I had Ran in my veins, I was a gentleman ; And then I told you true : and yet, dear lady, Rating myself at nothing, you shall see How much I was a braggart: When I told

you My state was nothing, I should then have told

you That I was worse than nothing; for, indeed, I have engag'd myself to a dear friend, Engag'd my friend to his meer enemy, To feed my means. Here is a letter, lady; The paper as the body of my friend,


1 The paper as the body, &c.] The expression is somewhat elliptical : “ The paper as the body,"


And every word in it a gaping wound,
Issuing life-blood.--But is it true, Salerio ?
Have all his ventures fail'd? What, not one

. hit ?2
From Tripolis, from Mexico, and England,
From Lisbon, Barbary, and India ?
And not one vessel 'scap'd the dreadful touch
Of merchant-marring rocks ?

Not one, my lord. 3



means the paper resembles the body, is as the body. STEEVENS.

In bold figurative language, the paper and the words are said to be as those things, or like those things, the notion of which they serve very strongly and powerfully to suggest to the imagination. E.

What, not one hit?] The auxiliary verb must be understood as repeated here in the singular: Mr. Capell is of opinion that the expression is de. fective in what follows and must be supplied by understanding " Has he vessels from Tripolis," 2. e. expected from it: induced, probably, to think so by what immediately follows,

“ And not one vessel 'scape," &c. The construction of this latter line would be much clearer, and better connected with what goes before, if it were read thusHas not one vessel’scap'd the dreadful touch,” &c. I have judged it expedient, for the sake of grammar, at least, to receive into the text the participle 'scap'd, after the example of Theobald, Hanmer, Johnson, &c. E.

3 Not one, my lord.] The supposed universality of Anthonio's loses, is not a little injurious to the probability of the fable. E.

Besides, it should appear, that if he had
The present money to discharge the Jew,
He would not take it : Never did I know
A creature, that did bear the shape of man,
So keen and greedy to confound a man :
He plies the duke at morning, and at night;
And doth impeach the freedom of the state,
If they deny him justice: twenty merchants,
The duke himself, and the magnificoes
Of greatest port, have all persuaded with him;
But none can drive him from the envious

plea Of forfeiture, of justice, and his bond. Jes. When I was with him, I have heard

him swear,4 To Tubal, and to Chus, his countrymen, That he would rather have Anthonio's flesh, Than twenty times the value of the sum That he did owe him ; and I know, my lord, If law, authority, and power deny not

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Gesc-sororem 4 When I was with him, I have heard him swear, 1 The circumstance here mentioned by Jessica, pleads strongly in favour of supposing that such an interval as that I have suggested, takes place between the conclusion of the first Act, and commencement of the second, as they are now divided, since it proves that she remained at home some time after Anthonio had become bound to the Jew, during which, it seems as if he had been accustomed to make such a declaration. E.

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