« PreviousContinue »
For fear I surfeit!
What find I here? 3
[Opening the leaden casket. Fair Portia's counterfeit?4 What demi-god Hath come so near creation? Move these eyes? Or whether, riding on the balls of mine, Seem they in motion? Here are sever'd lips, Parted with sugar breath; so sweet a bar Should sunder such sweet friends : Here in her hairs The painter plays the spider; and hath woven A golden mesh to entrap the hearts of men, Faster than gnats in cobwebs: But her eyes, How could he see to do them? having made one, Methinks, it should have power to steal both his, And leave itself unfurnishid:5 Yet look, how far
So, in Love's Labour's Lost, Act 1, sc. ii:
“ Rein thy tongue.” Steevens. 3 What find I here?] The latter word is here employed as a dissyllable. Malone.
Some monosyllable appears to have been omitted. There is no example of-here, used as a dissyllable; and even with such assistance, the verse, to the ear at least, would be defective. Perhaps our author designed Portia to say:
“ For fear I surfeit me.” Steevens. 4 Fair Portia's counterfeit?7 Counterfeit, which is at present used only in a bad sense, anciently signified a likeness, a resemblance, without comprehending any idea of fraud. So, in The Wit of a Woman, 1604: "I will see if I can agree with this stranger, for the drawing of my daughter's counterfeit."
Again, (as Mr. M. Mason observes Hamlet calls the pictures he shows to his mother:
" The counterfeit presentment of two brothers.” Steevens. 5 Methinks, it should have power to steal both his, And leave itself unfurnish'd :) Perhaps it might be:
And leave himself unfurnish'd. Fohnson. If this be the right reading, unfurnished must mean “unfur. nished with a companion or fellow." I am confirmed in this explanation, by the following passage in Fletcher's Lover's Progress, where Alcidon says to Clarangé, on delivering Lidian's challenge, which Clarangé accepts
" you are a noble gentleman,
" And pity, either of us should be unfurnish'd.” M. Mason. Dr. Johnson's emendation would altogether subvert the poet's meaning. If the artist, in painting one of Portia's eyes, should
The substance of my praise doth wrong this shadow
You that choose not by the view, "
And claim her with a loving kiss.
lose both his own, that eye which he had painted, must necessa. rily be left unfurnished, or destitute of its fellow. Henley.
And leave itself unfurnish’d:] i. e. and leave itself incomplete ; unaccompanied with the other usual component parts of a por. trait, viz. another eye, &c. The various features of the face our author seems to have considered as the furniture of a picture. So, in As you Like it : “ - he was furnish'd like a huntsman;" i, e. had all the appendages belonging to a huntsman. Malone.
The hint for this passage appears to have been taken from Greene's History of Faire Bellora; afterwards published under the title of A Paire of Turtle Doves, or the Tragicall History of Bela lora and Fidelio, bl. 1: “ If Apelles had beene tasked to have drawne her counterfeit, her two bright-burning lampes would have so dazled his quicke-seeing sences, that quite dispairing to ex. presse with his cunning pensill so admirable a worke of nature, he had been inforced to have staid his hand, and left this earthly Venus unfinished.”
A preceding passage in Bassanio's speech might have been suggested by the same novel.
A golden mesh to entrap the hearts of men: “ What are our curled and crisped lockes, but snares and nets to catch and entangle the hearts of gazers,” &c. Steevens. 6- this shadow Doth limp behind the substance.) So, in The Tempest:
“— she will outstrip all praise,
Whether those peals of praise? be his or no;
Por. You see me, lord Bassanio, where I stand,
7 peals of praise-] The second quarto reads-pearles of praise. Johnson. * This reading may be the true one. So, in Whetstone's Arbour of Virtue, 1576:
“ The pearles of praise that deck a noble name.” Again, in R. C.'s verses in praise of the same author's Rock of Regard:
“But that that bears the pearle of praise away." Steevens. 8 Is sum of something;] We should read ---some of something, i. e. only a piece, or part only of an imperfect account; which she explains in the following line. Warburton. Thus one of the quartos. The folio reads:
Is sum of nothing. -
"- the full sum of me.” Is sum of something, i. e. is not entirely ideal, but amounts to as much as can be found in an unlesson'd girl, &c. Steevens.
I should prefer the reading of the folio, as it is Portia's intention, in this speech, to undervalue herself. M. Mason.
9 But she may learn ;] The latter word is here used as a dissyl. lable. Malone.
Till the reader has reconciled his ear to this dissyllabical pronunciation of the word learn, I beg his acceptance of-and, a harmless monosyllable which I have ventured to introduce for the sake of obvious metre. Steevens.
Commits itself to yours to be directed,
Bass. Madam, you have bereft me of all words,
Ner. My lord and lady, it is now our time,
Gra. My lord Bassanio, and iny gentle lady,
Bass. With all my heart, so thou canst get a wife.
Gra. I thank your lordship; you have got me one. My eyes, my lord, can look as swift as yours: You saw the mistress, I beheld the maid; You lov'd, I lov'd; for intermission 3
1-being blent together,] i. e. blended. Steevens.
2 - you can wish none from me:] That is, none away from me; none that I shall lose, if you gain it. Fohnson.
3— for intermission--] Intermission is pause, intervening time, delay. So, in Macbeth:
No more pertains to me, my lord, than you.
Is this true, Nerissa?
riage. Gra. We'll play with them, the first boy for a thousand ducats.
Ner. What, and stake down?
But who comes here? Lorenzo, and his infidel?
Enter LORENZO, JESSICA, and SALERIO.
So do I, my lord;
Lor. I thank your honour:--For my part, my lord, My purpose was not to have seen you here; But meeting with Salerio by the way, He did entreat me, past all saying nay, To come with him along. Sale.
I did, my lord, And I have reason for it. Signior Antonio Commends him to you.
[Gives Bass. a letter. Bass.
Ere I ope his letter, I pray you, tell me how my good friend doth.
“ gentle heaven