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have good fortune -(He omits the conclusion of the sentence which might have been) I am much mistaken; or, I'll be hanged, &c. TYRWHITT.
The whole difficulty of this passage (concerning which there is a great difference of opinion amongst the commentators) arose, as I conceive, from a word being omitted by the compositor or transcriber. I am persuaded the author wrote- “I shall have no
good fortune.” These words are not, I believe, connected with what goes before, but with what follows; and begin a new sentence. Shakspeare, I think, meant, that Launcelot, after this abrupt speech- “ Well; if any man that offers to swear
upon a book, has a fairer table than mine”—[I am much mistaken :) should proceed in the same manner in which he began :- “ I shall have no good “ fortune; go to; here's a simple line of life!" &c. So before : « I cannot get a service, no ;-I have “ ne'er a tongue in my head." And afterwards : “ Alas! fifteen wives is nothing." The Nurse in Romeo and Juliet, expresses herself exactly in the same style; “Well, you have made a simple choice; you
know not how to choose a man ; Romeo ? no not he; he is not the flower of courtesy,” &c. So also, in King Henry iv. "Here's no fine villainy !” Again, more appositely, in the anonymous play of King Henry v. “ Ha! me have no good luck.” Again, in The Merry Wives of Windsor : “ We are
simple men; we do not know what's brought about “ under the profession of fortune-telling."
Almost every passage in these plays, in which the sense is abruptly broken off, as I have more than once observed, has been corrupted.
It is not without some reluctance that I have excluded this emendation from a place in the text. Had it been proposed by any former editor or commentator, I should certainly have adopted it; being convinced that it is just. But the danger of innovation is so great, and partiality to our own conceptions so delusive, that it becomes every editor to distrust his own emendations; and I am particularly inclined so to do in the present instance, in which I happen to differ from that most respectable and judicious critic, whose name is subjoined to the preceding note. According to his idea, the mark of an abrupt sentence should not be after the word book, but fortune.
MALONE, To the propriety of the foregoing note every reader of discernment must subscribe; and, against the admission of that mode of pointing and interpreting this passage which has been advanced by Mr. Heath and Mr. Tyrwhitt, and which Mr. Capell has likewise pursued, there appears to me to be this very strong objection, that, with whatever inaccuracy, or in how preposterous soever a manner the poet may have chosen, upon sundry occasions, to make Launcelot express himself, he could hardly intend to make him substitute the table of another man, the rival of his own for fairness, in the place of the latter, in making this affirmation upon oath respecting his own good fortune, which certainly the expression so construed implies, and, therefore, requires, at least, the words, “ than mine,” to be added after " fairer table.” E.
Page 124. It is, as has been already noticed, incontrovertibly certain that a period of not less than three months must be accounted for between the instant of concluding the agreement between Anthonio and the Jew, and that of the latter's becoming intitled to claim the forfeiture of the penalty mentioned in the bond; and the probability has been suggested that a pretty large portion of that time is to be regarded as having been passed by Bassanio with his mistress at Belmont, previously to the moment at which the present Scene opens. The warm attachment which a young lady of so much good sense, delicacy of manners and refinement of sentiment, appears to have conceived for him, contributes not a little to countenance and support such a supposition, and that, notwithstanding the partiality she.confessedly entertained for him before the commencement of the play. She desires himn, it is true, to“ pause a day or two, before he * hazards;" but that implies not positively that he was very lately arrived, and may signify no more than "a day or two" longer, having already “paused” so many days before :
In like manner, when she tells him that,
« She would detain him here some month or two,
• Before he ventures for her,”this is no certain proof that he has not already been her guest for a considerable time. It is evident from the conversation between Salanio and Salarino in Scene the 6th of the second Act, as the Scenes are here disposed of and numbered, that' the Jew had entertained a suspicion that his daughter and her lover had gone off in the same vessel with Bassanio ;
a circumstance concerning which it seems as if Salarino himself had harboured some doubts, till Salanio assures him of the contrary, and adds, that the duke, having come, at the instigation of Shylock, to search the ship, which was already under sail, had been informed that they were seen together in a gondola, and that,
Anthonio certify'd the duke
They were not with Bassanio in his ship." Whence such a mistake had arisen, whether they immediately directed their flight to Genoa, or else. where, and lastly what was the motive for their journey to that city, to which Tubal acquaints Shylock that he had traced them in their progress, no information is afforded us : Concerning these points then we must be contented to remain in ignorance : It will not, however, be foreign from our purpose
to remark that the intelligence given us of their ex. pedition to Genoa, and Tubal's return from thence, does of itself, independantly of other considerations, seem to require a pretty long interruption of the action on account of the distance between Venice and the last mentioned place. This circunstance, as well as that of the present Scene (in which they are returned, and make their appearance at Belmont) standing, in point of time, at such a distance from the preceding, offers a strong argument in favour of the notion here pleaded for. In some part of that interval, between the day of his arrival and that of his election of the casket, the foregoing Scene must have passed, but to fix its date exactly from any light atforded upon the subject, is impossible. Since, however, it is to be presumed that the ardour of Bassanio's passion rendered him soniewhat impatient to have his fate decided, at the same time that a certain timidity respecting the event of his choice, may serve to account for some degree of delay, it will be proper to deduct in imagination, as large a share as we reasonably can of the time necessary for the completion of the catastrophe from the last mentioned interval and conceive it to pass between the instant in which he resolves to undertake an expedition to Belmont, and his actual departure from Venice for that place.
It should not pass unnoticed, that, in the Scene which precedes the present one, Shylock talks of feeing an officer and bespeaking him a fortnight before, and that Scene is certainly subsequent to the arrival of Bassanio at Belmont, an account of whose approach concludes the second Act. E.
“ Beshrew me! beshrew your heart !" &c. are modes of exclaiming, or execrating rather, which occur very often; and signify,--Ill be . tide me! &c. CAPELL'S GLOSSARY.
They have o'er look'd me, and divided me ;] That is bewitched me, in allusion to the superstitious notion of persons being injured by, or suffering under, the influence of malignant and envious eyes, which is commonly termed-being overlooked : This effect is, by the vulgar, imagined, I believe, to be particularly incident to young children, and oftentimes to catile, and more especially when any of these are remarkably distinguished for health, beauty, vigour, or other bodily perfections.
Portia seems allusively to consider the present agitated state of her mind arising from the conflict of opposite and contending affections, which set ber at variance with herself, as the consequence of a supposed, metaphorical fascination. Ė.
Page 131. To the sea monster, &c.] For the benefit of the less learned reader, the story alluded to is here given in the words of Dr. Grey.
“. When Apollo and Neptune were fallen into “ disgrace with Jupiter, they offered to help King “ Laomedon to build his city of Troy, upon condi« tion of a reward; which not being performed,
Neptune, to revenge himself, with the raging “ waves of the sea almost drowned him and his “ people: and Apollo sent amongst them so terrible “ a pestilence, that it occasioned every where great “ desolation and slaughter. When Laomedon per“ ceived, to what terrible inconveniencies, his per. “ fidious dealing had subjected him, he consulted • the oracle, and was informed, that there was no “ other way of appeasing these angry gods, but by
exposing every year a virgin of Troy to be de“ voured by the sea-monster. The lot fell at last
upon Hesione, the king's daughter. Hercules un“ dertook to deliver her by fighting with the sea
monster, if Laomedon would give him as a reward, " the horses said to be begot of a divine seed, then