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We leave you now with better company.
Salar. I would have staid till I had made you merry, If worthier friends had not prevented me.
Ant. Your worth is very dear in my regard.
Salar. Good morrow, my good lords.
when? 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 Antonio, 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 Antonio;
Ant. I hold the world but as the world, Gratiano;
3 My lord Bassanio, &c.] This speech (which by Mr. Rowe and subsequent editors was allotted to Salanio] is given to Lorenzo in the old copies: 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 Antonio) prepares now to leave Bassanio to his business; but is detained by Gratiano, who enters into a conversation with Antonio. Tyrwhitt.
I have availed myself of this judicious correction, by restoring the speech to Lorenzo, and marking the exits of Salarino and Salanio at the end of the preceding speech. Steevens.
- lose it,] All the ancient copies read-loose; a misprint, I suppose, for the word standing in the text. Steevens.
7 A-stage, where every man must play a part,] The same thought occurs in Churchyard's Farewel to the World, 1593:
“ A worldling here, I must hie to my grave;
“ A skaffold plaine,” &c. Again, in Sidney's Arcadia, B. II:
“She found the world but a wearisome stage to her, where she played a part against her will.” Steevens.
Let me play the Fool:8 With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come; And let my liver rather heat with wine, Than my heart cool with mortifying groans. Why should a man, whose blood is warm within, Sit like his grandsire cut in alabaster? Sleep when he wakes? and creep into the jaundice By being peevish? I tell thee what, Antonio, I love thee, and it is my love that speaks; There are a sort of men, whose visages Do cream and mantle, like a standing pond; And do a wilful stillness? entertain, With purpose to be dress'd in an opinion Of wisdom, gravity, profound conceit; As who should say, I am Sir Oracle, And, when I ope my lips, let no dog bark! 2. O, my Antonio, I do know of these, That therefore only are reputed wise, For saying nothing; who, I am very sure, If they should speak, would almost damn those ears,
8 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. 9 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 :
“ 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.
- let no dog bark!] This seems to be a proverbial expression. So, in Acolastus, a comedy, 1540 : “. - nor there shall no dogge bark at mine ententes.” Steevens.
who, I am very sure,] The old copies read—when, I am very sure.
Corrected by Mr. Rowe. Malone.
- would almost damn those ears,] 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.
Which, hearing them, would call their brothers, fools.
Lor. Well, we will leave you then till dinner-time:
Gra. Well, keep me company but two years more, Thou shalt not know the sound of thine own tongue.
Ant. Farewel: I'll grow a talker for this gear.6
Gra. Thanks, i' faith; for silence is only commendable In a neat's tongue dried, and a maid not vendible.
[Exeunt Gra. and LOR. Ant. Is that any thing now?7
Bas8. Gratiano speaks an infinite deal of nothing, more than any man in all Venice: His reasons are as two grains
5 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.
- for this gear.] In Act II, sc. ii, the same phrase occurs again: "If fortune be a woman, she's a good wench for this geer." This is a colloquial expression perhaps of no very determined import. Steevens.
So, in Sapho and Phao, a comedy by Lyly, 1591: “As for you, Sir boy, I will teach you how to run away; you shall be 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.
? Is that any thing now?] All the old copies read, is that any thing now? I suppose we should read-is that any thing new?
Johnson. The sense of the old reading is-Does what he has just said amount to any thing, or mean any thing? Steevens.
Surely the reading of the old copies is right. Antonio asks : Is that any thing now? and Bassanio answers, that Gratiano speaks an infinite deal of nothing,--the greatest part of his discourse is not any thing. Tyrwhitt.
So, in Othello: “Can any thing be made of this ?” The old copies, by a manifest error of the press, read-It is that, &c. Corrected by Mr. Rowe. Malone.
of wheat hid in two bushels of chaff; you shall seek all day ere you find them; and, when you have them, they are not worth the search.
Ant. Well; tell me now, what lady is this same
Bass. 'Tis not unknown to you, Antonio,
Ant. I pray you, good Bassanio, let me know it;
Bass. In my school-days, when I had lost one shaft, I shot his fellowo of the self-same flight
a more swelling port &c.] Port, in the present instance, comprehends the idea of expensive equipage, and external pomp of appearance. Thus, in the first Iliad, as translated by Chapman, 1611:
- all the gods receiv'd, “(All rising from their thrones) their sire; attending to
his court “ None sate when he rose; none delaid, the furnishing “ Till he came neare: all met with him and brought him
to his throne.” Steevens. when I had lost one shaft, I shot his fellow &c.] This thought occurs also in Decker's Villanies discovered by Lanthorne and Candlelight, &c. 4to, bl. 1: " And yet I have seene a Creditor in Prison weepe when he beheld the Debtor, and to lay out money of his owne purse to free him: he shot a second arrow to find the first." I learn, from a MS. note by Oldys, that of this pamphlet there were no less
The self-same way, with more advised watch,
did shoot the first, I do not doubt,
Ant. You know me well; and herein spend but time,
Bass. In Belmont is a lady richly left, And she is fair, and, fairer than that word,
than eight editions; the last in 1638. I quote from that of 1616.
Steevens. This method of finding a lost arrow is prescribed by P. Crescentius in his Treatise de Agricultura, Lib. X, cap. xxviii, and is also mentioned in Howel's Letters, Vol. I, p. 183, edit. 1655, 12mo. Douce.
- like a wilful youth,] This does not at all agree with what he had before promised, that what followed should be pure innocence. For wilfulness is not quite so pure. We should read -witless, i. e. heedless; and this agrees exactly to that to which he compares his case, of a school-boy; who, for want of advised watch, lost his first arrow, and sent another after it with more attention. But wilful agrees not at all with it. Warburton.
Dr. Warburton confounds the time past and present. He has formerly lost his money like a wilful youth; he now borrows more in pure innocence, without disguising his former faults, or his present designs. Johnson.
-prest unto it:] Prest may not here signify impress'd, as into military service, but ready. Pret, Fr. So, in Cesar and Pompey, 1607:
“What must be, must be; Cæsar's prest for all." Again, in Hans Beer-pot, &c. 1618:
- your good word