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and the complexion of a devil, I had rather he should shrive me than wive me. Come, Nerissa.Sirrah, go before.-Whiles we shut the gate upon one wooer, another knocks at the door.
Enter BASSANIO and Shylock.
Bass. For the which, as I told you, Antonio shall be bound.
Shy. Antonio shall become bound - well.
Bass. May you stead me? Will you pleasure me? Shall I know your answer?
Shy. Three thousand ducats, for three months, and Antonio bound.
Bass. Your answer to that.
Shy. Ho, no, no, no, no;-my meaning, in saying he is a good man, is to have you understand me, that he is sufficient: yet his means are in supposition: he hath an argosy bound to Tripolis, another to the Indies; I understand moreover upon the Rialto, he hath a third at Mexico, a fourth for England, and other ventures he hath, squander'd abroad: But ships are but boards, sailors but men: there be land-rats, and water-rats, waterthieves, and land-thieves; I mean, pirates; and then, there is the peril of waters, winds, and rocks: The man, is notwithstanding, sufficient;-three thousand ducats;~I think, I may take his bond.
Bass. Be assured you may.
Shy. I will be assured, I may; and, that I may be assured, I will bethink me: May I speak with Antonio?
Bass. If it please you to dine with us.
Shy. Yes, to smell pork; to eat of the habitation which your prophet, the Nazarite, conjured the devil into:6 I
5 the condition -] i. e. the temper, qualities. So, in Othello: “ and then, of so gentle a condition » Malone.
will buy with you, sell with you, talk with you, walk with you, and so following; but I will not eat with you, drink with you, nor pray with you. What news on the Rialto?- Who is he comes here?
Enter ANTONIO. Bass. This is signior Antonio.
Shy. [Aside] How like a fawning publican he tooks! I hate him for he is a christian: ." och But more, for that, in low simplicity, He lends out money gratis, and brings down . The rate of usance here with us in Venice.' If I can catch him once upon the hip, I will feed fat the ancient grudge I bear him. i, He hates our sacred nation; and he rails, : Even there where merchants most no congregate; On me, my bargains, and my well-won thrift, Which he calls interest: Cursed be my tribe, If I forgive him! Bass.
Shylock, do you hear?
Ant. Shylock, albeit I neither lend nor borrow,
6 — the habitation which your prophet, the Nazarite, conjured the devil into:] Perhaps there is no character through all Shakspeare, drawn with more spirit, and just discrimination, than Shylock's. His language, allusions, and ideas, are every where so appropriate to a Jew, that Shylock might be exhibited for an exemplar of that peculiar people. Henley.
7 If I can catch him once upon the hip,] This, Dr. Johnson observes, is a phrase taken from the practice of wrestlers; and (he might have added) is an allusion to the angel's thus laying hold on Jacob when he wrestled with him. See Gen. xxxii, 24, &c.
Henley. 8 — the ripe wants of my friend,] Ripe wants are wants come to the height, wants that can have no longer delay. Perhaps we might read-rife wants, wants that come thick upon him. Fohnson.
I'll break a custom:-Is he yet possess'd,"
Ay, ay, three thousand ducats. Ant. And for three months.
Shy. I had forgot--three months, you told me so.
I do never use it.
Ant. And what of him? did he take interest?
Shy. No, not take interest; not, as you would say, Directly interest: mark what Jacob did. When Laban and himself were compromis'd, That all the eanlingswhich were streak’d, and pied, Should fall as Jacob's hire; the ewes, being rank, In the end of autumn turned to the rams: And when the work of generation was Between these woolly breeders in the act, The skilful shepherd peel'd'me certain wands, 2 And, in the doing of the deed of kind, 3 He stuck them up before the fulsome ewes;
Ripe is, I believe, the true reading. So, afterwards:
“ But stay the very riping of the time.” Malone. Again, in A Midsummer Night's Dream:
“Here is a brief how many sports are ripe.” Steevens. 9- possess'd,] i. e. acquainted, informed. So, in Twelfth Night : “ Possess us, possess us, tell us something of him.”
Steevens. 1— the eanlings -] Lambs just dropt: from ean, eniti.
Musgrave. 2- certain wands,] A wand in our author's time was the usual term for what we now call a switch. Malone.
3- of kind,] i.e. of nature. So, Turbervile, in his book of Falconry, 1575, p. 127 :
“ So great is the curtesy of kind, as she ever seeketh to recompense any defect of hers with some other better benefit.” Again, in Drayton's Mooncalf:
“— nothing doth so please her mind,
“ As to see mares and horses do their kind.” Collins. 4- the fulsome ewes;] Fulsome, I believe, in this instance,
Who, then conceiving, did in eaning time
Ant. This was a venture, sir, that Jacob serv'd for;
Shy. I cannot tell; I make it breed as fast:7-
Mark you this, Bassanio,
means lascivious, obscene. The same epithet is bestowed on the night, in Acolastus his After-Witte. By S. N. 1600:
Why shines not Phæbus in the fulsome night?”' In the play of Muleasses the Turk, Madam Fulsome a Bawd is introduced. The word, however, sometimes signifies offensive in smell. So, in Chapman's version of the 17th Book of the Odyssey:
"— and fill'd his fulsome scrip,” &c. Again, in the dedication to Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy, p. 63: “noisome or fulsome for bad smells, as butchers' slaughter houses,” &c.
It is likewise used by Shakspeare in King John, to express some quality offensive to nature:
" And stop this gap of breath with fulsome dust." Steevens. Minsheu supposes it to mean nauseous in so high a degree as to excite vomiting. Malone. 5- and those were Facob's.] See Genesis, xxx, 37, &c.
Steevens. 6 This was a way to thrive, &c.] So, in the ancient song of Gernutus the Few of Venice:
ás His wife must lend a shilling,
“For every weeke a penny,
“If that you will have any.
“Or else you lose it all:
“Her cow she did it call.” Her cow, &c. seems to have suggested to Shakspeare Shylock's argument for usury. Percy.
? - I make it breed as fast:] So, in our author's Venus and Adonis :
“Foul cank’ring rust the hidden treasure frets ; *" But gold that's put to use more gold begets." Malone.
The devil can cite scripture for his purpose. 8
Shy. Three thousand ducats,'tis a good round sum. Three months from twelve, then let me see the rate.
Ant. Well, Shylock, shall we be beholden to you?
Shy. Signior Antonio, many a time and oft,
8 The devil can cite scripture &c.] See St. Matt. iv, 6. Henley.
90, what a goodly outside falshood hath!'] Falshood, which as truth means honesty, is taken here for treachery and knavery, does not stand for falshood in general, but for the dishonesty now operating. Johnson.
1— my usances :] Use and Usance are both words anciently employed for usury, both in its favourable and unfavourable sense. So, in The English Traveller, 1633:
“Give me my use, give me my principal.” Again:
“A toy; the main about five hundred pounds,
“ And the use fifty.” Steevens. Usance, in our author's time, I believe, signified interest of mo. ney. It has been already used in this play in that sense :
“ He lends out money gratis, and brings down
“ The rate of usance with us here in Venice.” Again, in a subsequent part, he says, he will take “no doit of usance for his monies.” Here it must mean interest Malone.
2 Still have I borne it with a patient shrug;1 So, in Marlowe's Few of Malta, (written and acted before 1593) printed in 1633:
« I learn’d in Florence how to kiss my hand,
“ Heave up my shoulders when they call me dogge,” Malone. 3 And spit -] The old copies always read spet, which spelling is followed by Milton: “
the womb “Of Stygian darkness spets her thickest gloom.” Steevens.