« PreviousContinue »
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?: I 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?
1- 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. 2 He lends out money gratis, and brings down
The rate of usance here with us in Venice.] “It is almost incredyble what gaine the Venetians receive by the usury of the Jewes, both pryvately and in common. For in everye citee the Jewes kepe open shops of usurie, taking gaiges of ordinarie for xv in the hundred by the yere; and if at the yeres ende the gaige be not redeemed, it is forfeite, or at the least dooen away to a great disadvantage : by reason whereof the Jewes are out of measure wealthie in those parties.” Thomas's Historye of Italye, 1561, 4to. fol. 77. Douce.
3 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
I will feed fat the ancient grudge I bear him.
Shylock, do you hear ?
[Το ANTONIo. Your worship was the last man in our mouths. Ant. Shylock, albeit if I neither lend nor
* First folio, well-worne. † Quarto R. although. hold on Jacob when he wrestled with him. See Gen. xxxii. 24, &c. HENLEY.
If the reader should refer to the passage alluded to in Genesis, he will find that the angel did not thus lay hold on Jacob. We meet with the phrase again in Othello :
“ I'll have our Michael Cassio on the hip!” Boswell. 4 - 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.
JOHNSON, 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. s— possess’d,] i. e. acquainted, informed. So, in TwelfthNight : “ Possess us, possess us, tell us something of him."
How much you would ® ?
Ay, ay, three thousand ducats.
so. Well then, your bond ; and let me see, But hear
you; Methought, you said, you neither lend nor borrow, Upon advantage. Ant.
I do never use it. Shy. When Jacob graz'd his uncle Laban's sheep, This Jacob from our holy Abraham was (As his wise mother wrought in his behalf,) The third possessor; ay, he was the third.
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 eanlings? which 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 peeld me certain wands, And, in the doing of the deed of kind,
* First folio and quarto omit the. 6 How much you would ?] The first folio reads—how much he would have. Roberts's quarto reads :
- are you resolv'd
66 How much he would have." Boswell. 7 — the Eanlings -] Lambs just dropt: from ean, eniti.
MUSGRAVE. 8 - of KIND,] i. e. of nature. So, Turberville, 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.”
He stuck them up before the fulsome ewes”;
Again, in Drayton's Mooncalf:
“- nothing doth so please her mind,
“ As to see mares and horses do their kind.” COLLINS. 9 — the FULSOME ewes ;] Fulsome, I believe, in this instance, 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 butcher's 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." Again, in Thomas Newton's Herball to the Bible, 8vo. 1587:
“ Having a strong sent and fulsome smell, which neither men nor beastes take delight to smell unto."
Again, ibid. :
" Boxe is naturally dry, juicelesse, fulsomely and loathsomely smelling."
Again, in Arthur Golding's translation of Ovid's Metamorphoses, b. xv.: “ But what have you poore sheepe misdone, a cattel meek and
meeld, “ Created for to manteine man, whose fulsome dugs do yeeld
“ Sweete nectar," &c. STEEVENS. "Minsheu supposes it to mean nauseous in so high a degree as to excite vomiting. Malone.
It perhaps only meant, in this passage, pregnant. Fulsome frequently was used for full, as it certainly was in Mr. Steevens's quotation from Golding : “ Pleno quæ fertis in ubere.” The same writer, in his translation of Abraham's Sacrifice, by Beza, speaks of the moon's “ round and fulsome face." BosweLL.
"Fall party-colour'd lambs,] To fall is frequently used by our author as a verb active, to let fall, to drop. Boswell. ? — and those were Jacob's.] See Genesis xxx. 37, &c.
This thrift is blessing, if men steal it not.
Shy. I cannot tell; I make it breed as fast * :--But note me, signior.
Mark you this, Bassanio, The devil can cite scripture for his purpose". An evil soul, producing holy witness, Is like a villain with a smiling cheek; A goodly apple rotten at the heart; O, what a goodly outside falshood hath o ! · Shy. Three thousand ducats,—'tis a good round
sum. Three months from twelve, then let me see the rate.
3 This was a way to thrive, &c.] So, in the ancient song of Gernutus the Jew of Venice:
“ 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.
4 - 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. s The devil can cite scripture, &c.] See St. Matthew iv. 6.
HENLEY. 6 0, what a goodly outside FalSHOOD hath!] Falshood, which as truth means honesty, is taken here for treachery and knavery, does not stand for falšhood in general, but for the dishonesty now operating. Johnson.