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I swear to thee, even by thine own fair eyes,
Wherein I see myself,
Por.

Mark you but that!
In both mine eyes he doubly sees himself ;
In each eye, one:3_swear by your double self,
And there's an oath of credit.
Bass.

Nay, but hear me : Pardon this fault, and by my soul I swear, I never more will break an path with thee. Anth. I once did lend my body for his

wealth ;5 Which, but for him that had your husband's

ring, Had quite miscarry'd : I dare be bound again, My soul upon the forfeit, that your lord Will never more break faith advisedly. Por. Then you shall be his surety : Give

him tbis; And bid him keep it better than the other. Anth. Here, lord Bassanio; swear to keep this ring

Bass.

[To Portia.

4

5

3 In each eye, one :] i. e. one self. E.

swear by your double self,] Double is here used for full of duplicity. Malone.

-for his wealth;] For his advantage; to obtain his happiness. Wealth was, at that time, the term opposite to adversity, or calamity. Johnson.

So in the Litany: “ In all time of our tribulation, Fi in all time of our wealth." STEEVENS.

Bass. By heaven, it is the same I gave the

doctor! Por, I had it of him: pardon me, Bassanio; For by this ring the doctor lay with me.

Ner. And pardon me, my gentle Gratiano ; For that same scrubbed boy, the doctor's clerk, In lieu of this, last night did lie with me. Gra. Why, this is like the mending of highways?

In

6 For by this ring the doctor lay with me.

e.] By means of this ring, considered as the proof of Bassanio's infidelity, having used it, it may be supposed, as a kind of token or passport by which he obtained admission to her bed. E.

7 Why this is like the mending of highways, &c.] The aptitude of this comparative illustration is not, at first view, very discoverable': The purpose of mending roads, or highways, even when they stand but little in need of repair, must be that of rendering them still, in some degree, better ; but how a wife can expect that her husband will be improved by a treatment of the kind here alluded to, it is difficult to say. Perhaps, as behaviour of this nature in wives has been sometimes considered as a punishment inflicted for the misconduct of their husbands, Gratiano may mean to remark, that the unkindness done to them, upon the present occasion, is premature and unnecessary, and like mending highways in summer, forasmuch as they have not, certainly, as yet merited it, and, perchance, never may hereafter; or, possibly, in a somewhat grosser sense, that, in so suddenly providing themselves with gallants, the ladies have exhibited a kind of superfluous caution, and, as it were,

thrown

In summer, where the ways are fair enough: What! are we cuckolds, ere we have deserved

it? Por. Speak not so grossly.—You are all

amaz'd: Here is a letter, read it at your leisure ; [To Bus. It comes from Padua, from Bellario : There you shall find, that Portia was the doctor; Nerissa there, her clerk : Lorenzo here Shall witness, I set forth as soon as you, And but even now return'd ; I have not yet Enter'd my house.--Anthonio, you are welcome; And I have better news in store for

you,

Than

thrown away their pains, having had so little opportunity of experiencing any denierit in their spouses.

E. When

may, to some persons, appear a more proper term to follow summer, than where, but the latter heightens the comparison by leaving us to conclude that this absurd“ mending of the ways in summer," was of such, as did not want it at any time. CAPELL.

Viewed in this light, the thought is considerably strengthened by the mention of summer, the season, when the inconvenience even of bad roads is, comparatively speaking, little felt. E.

8 And I have better news in store for you,] There is not, perhaps, to be found in the dramatic writings of any poet a more lame, awkard, and inartificial expedient, for suddenly bringing on a general satisfaction in the catastrophe, than that which here is had recourse to. How Portia should possess the means of acquiring intelligence respecting this happy reverse of Anthonio's fortune, earlier than hini. self, who is just arrived from the very same place,

Than

you expect : unseal this letter soon; There

you

shall find three of your argosies Are richly come to harbour suddenly : You shall not know by what strange accident. I chanced on this letter. Anth.

I am dumb. Bass. Were you the doctor, and I knew you

not? Gra. Were you the clerk, that is to make

me cuckold ? Ner. Ay; but the clerk that never means to

do it, Unless he live until he be a man. Bass. Sweet doctor, you shall be my bed

fellow ; When I am absent, then lie with my

wife. Anth. Sweet lady, you have given me life,

and living;
For here I read for certain, that my ships
Are safely come to road.
Por.

How now, Lorenzo ? My clerk hath some good comforts too for you.

Ner. Ay, and I'll give them him without a fee. There do I give to you, and Jessica,

From

is a matter wonderful to be conceived, and that she should desire to conceal from the knowledge of the company, a circumstance, in its nature so singular and curious, is little less extraordinary, E.

S

VOL. I.

From the rich Jew, a special deed of gift,
After his death, of all he dies possessed of.

Lor. Fair ladies, you drop manna in the way
Of starved people.
Por.

It is almost morning, And yet, I am sure, you are not satisfy'd Of these events at full:

Let us go

in

; And charge us there upon interrogatories, And we will answer all things faithfully.

Gra. Let it be so: the first interrogatory, That

my

Nerissa shall be sworn on, is, Whether till the next night she had rather stay ; Or go to bed now, being two hours to day: But were the day come, I should wish it dark, That I were couching with the doctor's clerk. Well, while I live, I'll fear no other thing So sore, as keeping safe Nerissa's ring.

[Exeunt Omnes.

9 That I were couching, &c.] For the more common and natural phraseology—“ That I might be

couching, &c.” but, in one one of the quarto copies, the folios, and five succeding editors, it is, according to Mr. Capell,

« Till I were couching,” &c. E.

So sore, as keeping safe, &c.] Sore is, in this place, used adverbially, to signify-with a painful anxiety. E.

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