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Not learning more than the fond eye doth teach;
foolish multitude, &c. The fourth folio first introduced a phrașe. ology more agreeable to our ears at present,—“Of the fool mul. titude,"—which has been adopted by all the subsequent editors; -but change merely for the sake of elegance is always danger. ous. Many modes of speech were familiar in Shakspeare's age, that are now no longer used. So, in Plutarch's Life of Cesar, as translated by North, 1575:
- he aunswered, that these fat long-heared men made him not affrayed, but the lean and whitely-faced fellows; meaning that by Brutus and Cassius.” i. e. meaning by that, &c. Again, in Sir Thomas More's Life of Edward the Fifth ;-Holinshed, p. 1374: “ – that meant he by the lordes of the queenes kindred that were taken before," i. e. by that he meant the lords, &c. Again, ibidem, p. 1371: “My lord, quoth lord Hastings, on my life, never doubt
you; for while one man is there,-never can there be, &c. This meant he by Catesby, which was of his near secrete counsaile,” i. e. by this he meant Catesby, &c.
Again, Puttenham in his Arte of English Poesie, 1589, p. 157, after citing some enigmatical verses, adds, “ - the good old gentleman would tell us that were children, how it was meant by a furr'd glove." i. e. furr'd glove was meant by it,-i. e. by the enigma. Again, ibidem, p. 161: " Any simple judgement might easily perceive by whom it was meant, that is, by lady Elizabeth, Queene of England.” Malone.
in the force - ] i. e. the power. So, in Much Ado about Nothing: - in the force of his will.” Steevens.
-jump - ] i. e. agree with. So, in K. Henry IV, P. 1: and in some sort it jumps with my humour.” Steevens.
How many be commanded, that command?
1 How much low peasantry would then be glean'd
From the true seed of honour ?] The meaning is, How much meanness would be found among the great, and how much greatness among the mean. But since men are always said to glean corn though they may pick chaff, the sentence had been more agreeable to the common manner of speech if it had been written thus:
How much low peasantry would then be pick'd
how touch honour
To be new varnish'd!] This confusion and mixture of the metaphors, makes me think that Shakspeare wrote:
To be new vanned i. e. winnow'd, purged, from the French word, vanner; which is derived from the Latin vannus, ventilabrum, the fan used for winnowing the chaff from the corn." This alteration restores the metaphor to its integrity: and our poet frequently uses the same thought. So, in The Second Part of King Henry IV:
- We shall be winnow'd with so rough a wind,
Warburton. Shakspeare is perpetually violating the integrity of his metaphors, and the emendation proposed seems to me to be as faulty as unnecessary; for what is already selected from the chaff needs not be new ruanned. I wonder Dr. Warburton did not think of changing the word ruin into rowing, which in some counties of England, is used to signify the second and inferior crop
grass which is cut in autumn.
So, in one of our old pieces, of which I forgot to set down the name, when I transcribed the following passage:
“ – when we had taken the first crop, you might have then been bold to eat the rowens.” The word occurs, however, both in the notes on Tusser, and in Mortimer. Steevens.
Steevens justly observes, that honour when picked from the chaff, could not require to be new vanned; but honour, mixed with the chaff and ruin of the times, might require to be new varnished. M. Mason.
3 I will assume desert ;-Give me a key for this,] The wordsfor this, which (as Mr. Ritson observes) destroy the measure, should be omitted. Steevens.
And instantly unlock my fortunes here.
Por. Too long a pause for that which you find there.
Ar. What's here? the portrait of a blinking idiot,
Por. To offend, and judge, are distinct offices,
What is here?
(Exeunt AR. apd Train, .
I wis,] i know. Wissen, German. So, in R. Henry VI:
“I wis your grandame had no worser match." Again, in the comedy of King Cambyses :
“ Yea, I wis, shall you, and that with all speed." Sidney, Ascham, and Waller, use the word. Steevens.
5 Take what wife you will to bed,] Perhaps the poet had forgotten that he who missed Portia was never to marry any woman.
Fohnson. . So begone, sir,] Sir, which is not in the old copies, was supplied by the editor of the second folio, for the sake of the metre.
Malone. to bear
my wroth.] The old editions read—“to bear my wroath.” Wroath is used in some of the old books for misfortune :
Por. Thus hath the candle sing’d the moth. () these deliberate fools! when they do choose, They have the wisdom by their wit to lose.
Ner. The ancient saying is no heresy ;-
Enter a Servant.
Here; what would lord?
Por. No more, I pray thee; I am half afeard, Thou wilt say anon, he is some kin to thee, Thou spend'st such high-day wit1 in praising him.Come, come, Nerissa; for I long to see Quick Cupid's post, that comes so mannerly,
Ner. Bassanio, lord love, if thy will it be! [Exeunt.
and is often spelt like ruth, which at present signifies only pity, or sorrow for the miseries of another. Caxton's Recuyell of the Historyes of Troye, &c. 1471, has frequent instances of wroth. Thus also, in Clyapman's version of the 22nd Iliad:
born to all the wroth, “ Of woe and labour.” The modern editors read-my wrath. Steevens.
8 Por. Here; what would my lord?] Would not this speech to the servant be more proper in the mouth of Nerissa? Tyrwhitt.
regreets ;] i. e. salutations. So, in K. John, Act III, sc. i:
Unyoke this seizure, and this kind regreet.” Steevens. - high-day wit - ] So, in The Merry Wives of Windsor : - he speaks holiday.” Steevens.
ACT III.....SCENE I.
Venice. A Street.
Enter SALANIO and SALARINO.
Salan. Now, what news on the Rialto?
Salar. Why, yet it lives there uncheck’d, that Antonio hath a ship ofich lading wreck'd on the narrow seas; the Goodwins, I think they call the place; a very dangerous flat, and fatal, where the carcases of many a tall ship lie buried, as they say, if my gossip report be an honest woman of her word.
Salan. I would she were as lying a gossip in that, as ever knapp'd ginger,2 or made her neighbours believe she wept for the death of a third husband: But it is true, without any slips of prolixity, or crossing the plain highway of talk,—that the good Antonio, the honest Antonio,- that I had a title good enough to keep his name company
Salar. Come, the full stop.
Salan. Ha—what say'st thou?- Why the end is, he hath lost a ship.
Salar. I would it might prove the end of his losses!
Salan. Let me say amen, betimes, lest the devil cross my prayer;3 for here he comes in the likeness of a Jew...
Enter ShyloCK. How now, Shylock? what news among the merchants?
Shy. You knew, none so well, none so well as you, of my daughter's flight.
– knapp'd ginger ;] To knap is to break short. The word occurs in The Common Prayer : “He knappeth the spear in sunder.” Steevens.
— my prayer;] i. e. the prayer or wish, which you have just now uttered, and which I devoutly join in by saying amen to it. Mr. Theobald and Dr. Warburton unnecessarily, I think, readthy prayer. Malone.
The people pray as well as the priest, though the latter only pronounces the words, which the people make their own by saying Amen to them. It is, after this, needless to add, that the Devil (in the shape of a Jew) could not cross Salarino's prayer, which as far as it was singly his, was already ended. Heath.