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You grow exceeding strange; Must it be so ? Salar. We'll make our leisures to attend on
yours. [Exeunt Salar. and Salan. Lor. My lord Bassanio, since you have
found Anthonio, We two will leave you; but, at dinner time, I pray you, have in mind where we must meet. Bass. I will not fail you.
Gra. You look not well, signior Anthonio; You have too much respect upon the world : They lose it, that do buy it with much care. Believe me, you are marvellously chang'd. Anth. I hold the world but as the world,
Gratiano ; A stage, where every man must play a part,8
7 My lord Bassanio, &c.] This speech is given to Lorenzo in the first folio; and Salarino and Salanio make their exit at the close of the preceding speech. Which is certainly right. Lorenzo (who, with Gratiano, had only accompanied Bassanio, till he should find Anthonio) prepares now to leave Bassanio to his business ; but is detained by Gratiano, who enters into a conversation with Anthonio. TYRWHITT.
8 A stage, where every man must play a part, &c.] The same thought occurs in Churchyard's Farewell to the world, 1593 :
“ A worldling here, I must hie to my grave;
“ A scaffold plaine,” &c.
“ She found the world but a wearisome stage to her, where she pluyed a part against her will." STEEVENS.
And mine a sad one.9
Let me play the Fool:r
By being peevish? I tell thee what, Antho
nio,I love thee, and it is my love that speaks ;There are a sort of men, whose visages Do cream 2 and mantle, like a standing pond;
୨ -mine a sad one.] These words must be understood as accusatives governed by the verb I hold. It is to be regretted that we have not authority for reading this beautiful and pathetic reflection as I find it in Theobald, Hanmer, and Warburton :
• I hold the world but as the world, Gratiano; “ A stage where every man must play lsis part, • And mine's a sad one.” E.
1 Let me play the fool :] Alluding to the common comparison of human life to a stage play. So that he desires his may be the fool's or buffoon's part, which was a constant character in the old farces
; from whence came the phrase, to play the fool.
WARBURTON. There are a sort of men, whose visages
Do cream] The poet here alludes to the manner in which the film extends itself over milk in scalding; and he had the same appearance in his eye when writing a foregoing line :
And do a wilful stillness 3 entertain,
ears, Which, hearing them, would call their brothers, fools.
“ With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come.” So also, the author of Bussy d'Ambois : “ Not any wrinkle creaming in their faces.”
HENLEY. a wilful stillness-] i.e. An obstinate silence. MALONE.
4 As who should say, I am Sir Oracle,] The folio reads, I believe rightly :
“ I am Sir, an oracle.” MALONE.
-let no dog bark !] This seems to be a proverbial expression. So, in Acolustus, a comedy, 1529 : -nor there shall no dogge barke at mine ententes.”
STEEVENS. -would almost damn those cars,] Several old editions have it, dam, damme, and daunt. Some more correct copies, damn. The author's meaning is this; That some people are thought wise, whilst they keep silence; who, when they open their mouths, are such stupid praters, that the hearers cannot help calling them fools, and so incur the judgment denounced in the gospel. THEOBALD.
I'll tell thee more of this another time :
while; I'll end my exhortation after dinner. 8. Lor. Well, we will leave you then till dinner- :
time :9 I must be one of these same dumb wise men, For Gratiano never lets me speak. Gra. Well, keep me company but two years
more, Thou shalt not know the sound of thine own tongue.
7 For this fool-gudgeon, &c.] i. e. Opinion, a gudgeon foolish enough to be taken with such a bait, as the affected gravity just spoken of. Mr. Pope introduced an alteration here, which has been followed by the four succeeding editors and by Mr. Stee, vens, viz. fool's gudgeon: They must have understood the expression to mean- a gudgeon, such as fools fish far. E.
8 I'll end my exhortation after dinner.] The humour of this consists in its being an allusion to the practice of the puritan preachers of those times; who being generally very long and tedious, were often forced to put off that part of their sermon called the exhortation, till after dinner. WARBURTON.
9 Well, we will leave you then, &c.] Lorenzo here repeats the same purpose he had expressed before, after having been detained while his companion was gratifying his passion for talking. CAPELL.
Anth. Farewell: I'll grow a talker for this
I'll grow a talker for this gear.] In act 2. scene ii. the same phrasé occurs again : “If fortune “ be a woman, she's a good wench for this gear.” This is a colloquial expression, perhaps, of no very determined import. STEEVENS.
So in Sappho and Phaon, a comedy by Lily, 1591: “ As for you, sir boy, I will teach you how to run
away ; you shall bee stript from top to toe, and whipt with nettles; I will handle you for this
geare well : I say no more.' Again, in Nashe's Epistle dedicatory to his Apologie of Pierce Pennilesse, 1593 : “ I mean to trounce him after twenty in the “ hundred, and have a bout with him, with two “ staves and a pike, for this geare.” Malone.
The following are the significations assigned to the word gear, by Dr. Johnson, in his Dictionary ; “ 1. Furniture ; accoutrements ; dress ; habit; or“ naments. 2. The tracés by which horses or oxen “ draw.
3. Stuff 4. [In Scotland,] Goods or “ riches, as -He has gear enough.” As an example of the third of these, he cites the passage from Shakspeare in this play, which has been quoted by Mr. Steevens in the foregoing note, and in a note upon another in the second part of Henry 6th, where the word is again introduced, he has this remark" Gear was a general word for things or matters." It must, I think, be, at first view, apparent that not any of the senses above enumerated will answer in the present instance: That which naturally occurs as most suitable to the sentence under consideration, seems to be of this kind,—“ I'll grow a talker for this st time,” or,
upon this particular occassion ;" as if, whatever his inward disposition might prompt him to, he felt a reluctance to disturb the festive enjoyment of his associates by an untimely seriousness. Whether any example can be adduced of the word being so used, I do not pretend to decide. E.