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But here an angel in a golden bed
Por. There, take it, prince, and if my form lie there, Then I am yours.
[He unlocks the golden casket.
O hell! what have we here?
All that glisters is not gold,
5 Gilded tombs do worms infold.] In all the old editions this line is written thus:
Gilded timber do worms infold. From which Mr. Rowe and all the following editors have made :
Gilded wood may worms infold. A line not bad in itself, but not so applicable to the occasion as that which, I believe, Shakspeare wrote:
Gilded tombs do worms infold. A tomb is the proper repository of a death's-head. Johnson.
The thought might have been suggested by Sidney's Arcadia, B. I:
“But gold can guild a rotten piece of wood.” Steevens. Tombes (for such was the old spelling) and timber were easily confounded. Yet perhaps the old reading may be right. The construction may be-Worms do infold gilded timber. This, however, is very harsh, and the ear is offended. In a poem'in. titled, of the Silke Wormes and their Flies, 4to. 1599, is this line:
• Before thou wast, were timber-worms in price.” Malone. More than the ear, I think, would be offended on this occa. sion; for how is it possible for worms that live bred within tim. ber, to infold it? Steevens.
Dr. Johnson's emendation is supported by Shakspeare's 101st Sonnet:
“ it lies in thee
“ To make thee much outlive a gilded tomb." Malone. 6 Your answer had not beeen inscrol'd :) Since there is an an. swer inscrol'd or written in every casket, I believe for your we should read--this. When the words were written yr and ys, the mistake was easy. Johnson.
Cold, indeed; and labour lost:
Then, farewel, heat; and, welcome, frost.Portia, adieu! I have too griev'd a heart To take a tedious leave: thus losers part. [Exit.
Por. A gentle riddance:-Draw the curtains, go;Let all of his complexion choose me so.? [Exeunt.
Venice. A Street.
Enter SALARINO and SALANIO.
Salan. The villain Jew with outcries rais'd the duke; Who went with him to search Bassanio's ship.
Salar. He came too late, the ship was under sail:
7- choose me so.] The old quarto editions of 1600 have no distribution of Acts, but proceed from the beginning to the end in an unbroken tenour. This play, therefore, having been probably divided without authority by the publishers of the first folic, lies open to a new regulation, if any more commodious division can be proposed. The story is itself so wildly incredible, and the changes of the scene so frequent and capricious, that the probability of action does not deserve much care; yet it may be proper to observe, that, by concluding the second act here, time is given for Bassanio's passage to Belmont. Fohrson.
Salar. Why, all the boys in Venice follow him,
Salan. Let good Antonio look he keep his day,
Marry, well remember'd:
Salan. You were best to tell Antonio what you hear; Yet do not suddenly, for it may grieve him.
Salar. A kinder gentleman treads not the earth.
8 I reason'd with a Frenchman yesterday;] i. e. I conversed. So, in King John:
“Our griefs, and not our manners reason now.” Again, in Chapman's translation of the fourth Book of the Odyssey:
“ The morning shall yield time to you and me,
“ To do what fits, and reason mutually.” Steevens. The Italian ragionare is used in the same sense. M. Mason.
9 Slubber not-] To slubber is to do any thing carelessly, imperfectly. So, in Nash's Lenten Stuff, &c. 1599:
16— they slubber'd thee over so negligently." Again, in Beaumont and Fletcher's Wit without Money:
“I am as haste ordain'd me, a thing slubber'd.” Steevens, 1— your mind of love:] So all the copies, but I suspect some corruption. Fohnson.
This imaginary corruption is removed by only putting a comma after mind. Langton.
Of love, is an adjuration sometimes used by Shakspeare. So, in The Merry Wives of Windsor, Act II, sc, vii:
« Quick. desires you to send her your little page, of all loves :" i. e. she desires you to send bim by all means.
Your mind of love may, however, in this instance, mean--your loving mind. So, in The Tragedie of Græsus, 1604: “A mind of treason is a treasonable mind.
Be merry; and employ your chiefest thoughts
Salan. I think, he only loves the world for him.
Do we so. [Exeunt.
Enter NERISSA, with a Servant.
“ Those that speak freely, have no mind of treason.” Steevens. If the phrase is to be understood in the former sense, there should be a comma after mind, as Mr. Langton and Mr. Heath have observed. Malone. 2 And even there, his eye being big with tears,
Turning his face, he put his hand behind him, &c.] So curious an observer of nature was our author, and so minutely had he traced the operation of the passions, that many passages of his works might furnish hints to painters. It is indeed surprizing that they do not study his plays with this view. In the passage before us, we have the outline of a beautiful picture. Malone.
3 embraced heaviness ] The heaviness which he indulges and is fond of. Edwards.
When I thought the passage corrupted, it seemed to me not improbable that Shakspeare had written-entranced heaviness, musing, abstracted, moping melancholy. But I know not why any great efforts should be made to change a word which has no incommodious or unusual sense. We say of a man now, that he hugs his sorrows, and why might not Antonio embrace heaviness?
Fohnson. So, in Much Ado about Nothing, sc. i:
“ You embrace your charge too willingly.” Again, in this play of The Merchant of Venice, Act III, sc. ii: .“ doubtful thoughts, and rash-embrac'd despair.”
Steevens. 4- draw the curtain — ] i. e. draw it open. So, in an old
The prince of Arragon hath ta'en his oath,
PORTIA, and their Trains. .
Ar. I am enjoin’d by oath to observe three things: First, never to unfold to any one Which casket 'twas I chose; next, if I fail Of the right casket, never in my life To woo a maid in way of marriage; lastly, If I do fail in fortune of my choice, Immediately to leave you and be gone.
Por. To these injunctions every one doth swear, That comes to hazard for my worthless self.
Ar. And so have I address'd me:5 Fortune now To my heart's hope !-Gold, silver, and base lead. Who chooseth me, must give and hazard all he hath: You shall look fairer, ere I give, or hazard. What says the golden chest? ha! let me see:Who chooseth me, shall gain what many men desire. What many men desire. That many may be meants By the fool multitude,? that choose by show,
stage-direction in King Henry VIII: “The king draws the cur. tain, and sits reading pensively.” Steevens.'
5 And so have I address'd me:] To address is to prepare. The meaning is, I have prepared myself by the same ceremonies. So, in All's well that ends well: “ Do you think he will make no deed of all this, that so seriously he doth address himself unto ?”
Steevens. I believe we should read:
“ And so have I. Address me, Fortune, now,
“ To my heart's hope!” So, in The Merry Wives of Windsor, Act III, scene the last, Falstaff says: “- I will then address me to my appointment.”
Tyrwhitt. 6- That many may be meant - The repetition of many is a mere blunder. It is unnecessary to the sense, and destroys the measure. Ritson. 7- That many may be meant
By the fool multitude,] i. e. By that many may be meant the