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Let fortune go to hell for it,—not I.?
I speak too long; but 'tis to peize the time;
To eke it, and to draw it out in length,
To stay you from election.

Let me choose;
For, as I am, I live upon the rack.

Por. Upon the rack, Bassanio? then confess What treason there is mingled with your love.

Bass. None, but that ugly treason of mistrust, Which makes me fear the enjoying of my love: There may as well be amity and life 'Tween snow and fire, as treason and my love.

Por. Ay, but, I fear, you speak upon the rack, Where men enforced do speak any thing.

B.Ass. Promise me life, and I'll confess the truth.
Por. Well then, confess, and live.

Confess, and love,
Had been the very sum of my confession:
O happy torment, when my torturer

? Let fortune go to hell for it, nor 1.] The meaning is, “ If the worst I fear should happen, and it should prove in the event, that I, who am juftly yours by the free donation I have made you of myself, should yet not be yours in consequence of an unlucky choice, let fortune go to hell for robbing you of your juft due, not I for violating my oath." HEATH.

3 to peize the time ;] Thus the old copies. To peize is from Pefer, Fr. So, in K. Richard III:

« Left leaden slumber peize me down to-morrow." To peize the time, therefore, is to retard it by hanging weights upon it. The modern editors read, without authority, piece.

STEEVENS. To peize, is to queizh, or balance; and figuratively, to keep in fufpence, to delay.

So, in Sir P. Sydney's Apology for Poetry:~" not speaking words as. They changeably fall from the mouth, bat perzing each sillable."



Doth teach me answers for deliverance!
But let me to my fortune and the caskets.

Por. Away then: I am lock'd in one of them;
If you do love me, you will find me out.-
Nerissa, and the rest, stand all aloof.
Let musick sound, while he doth make his choice ;
Then, if he lose, he makes a swan-like end,
Fading in musick: that the comparison
May stand more proper, my eye shall be the stream,
And wat’ry death-bed for him: He may win;
And what is musick then? then musick is
Even as the flourish when true subjects bow.
To a new-crowned monarch: such it is,
As are those dulcet sounds in break of day,
That creep into the dreaming bridegroom's ear,
And summon him to marriage. Now he goes,
With no less presence, but with much more love,
Than young Alcides, when he did redeem
The virgin tribute paid by howling Troy
To the lea-monster :s I stand for sacrifice,
The rest aloof are the Dardanian wives,
With bleared visages, come forth to view
The issue of the exploit, Go, Hercules !
Live thou, I live:- With much much more dismay
I view the fight, than thou that mak'st the fray.

4 With no less presence,] With the same dignity of mien,

JOHNSON. s To the sea-monfter:) See Ovid. Metamorph. Lib. XI. yer, 199, et seqq. Shakspeare however, I believe, had read an account of this adventure in The Destruction of Troy :-“ Laomedon cast his eyes all bewept on him, Hercules) and was all abashed to see his greatness and his beauty.See B. I, p. 221, edit. 1617.

Malone. 6 Live thou, I live :-With much much more dismay

I view the fight, than thou that mak'f the fray.] One of the quartos [Roberts's] reads:

Live then, I live with much more dismay
To view the fight, than &c.



Musick, whilf Bassanio comments on the caskels to


1. Tell me, where is fancybred,

Or in the heart, or in the head?
How begot, how nourished?


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2. It is engender'd in the eyes,

With gazing fed; and fancy dies
In the cradle where it lies:

Let us all ring fancy's knell;
I'll begin it, Ding dong, bell.

All. Ding, dong, bell.
Bass.--So may the outward shows be least them.

The world is still deceiv'd with ornament.
In law, what plea so tainted and corrupt,
But, being season'd with a gracious voice,
Obscures the show of evil? In religion,
What damned error, but some sober brow
Will bless it, and approve it? with a text,

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The folio, 1623, thus :

Live thou, I live with much more difmay

I view the fight, than &c.
Heyes's quarto gives the present reading. JOHNSON,

" -fancy -] i, e, Love, So, in A Midsummer-Night's Dream:

" Than fighs and tears, poor fancy's followers,"Steevens, 7 Reply,] The words, reply, reply, were in all the late editions, except Sir T, Hanmer's, put as verse in the song; but in all the old copies stand as a marginal direction. Johnson,

8 So may the outward shows - ] He begins abruptly; the first part of the argument has passed in his mind. JOHNSON.

9- gracious voice,] Pleasing; winning favour. Johnson,
: - approve it -] i. e. justify it. So, in Antony and Cleopatra :

" — I am full sorry
“ That he approves the common liar, fame." STEEVENS.
Hiding the grofsness with fair ornament?
There is no vice; so simple, but assumes
Some mark of virtue on his outward parts.
How many cowards, whose hearts are all as false
As stairs of fand, wear yet upon their chins
The beards of Hercules, and frowning Mars;
Who, inward search’d, have livers white as milk?
And these assume but valour's excrement,
To render them redoubted. Look on beauty,
And you shall see 'tis purchas'd by the weight;s
Which therein works a miracle in nature,
Making them lightest that wear most of it:6
So are those crisped" snaky golden locks,
Which make such wanton gambols with the wind,
Upon supposed fairness, often known
To be the dowry of a second head,
The scull that bred them, in the sepulchre.8

3 There is no vice-] The old copies read_voice. The emendation was made by the editor of the second folio. MALONE.

4 — valour's excrement,] i. e. what a little higher is called the beard of Hercules. So, “pedler's excrement," in The Winter's Tale. MaloNE.

5 by the weight;] That is, artificial beauty is purchased so; as, false hair, &c. Steevens.

o Making them lightest that wear most of it:] Lightest is here used in a wanton sense. So afterwards:

Let me be light, but let me not seem light.MALONE. 7- crisped - ] i. e. curled. So, in The Philosopher's Satires, by Robert Anton :

« Her face as beauteous as the crisped morn.” Steevens. 8 - in the sepulchre.] See a note on Timon of Athens, AA IV. fc. üi. Shakspeare has likewise fatirized this yet prevailing fashion in Love's Labour's Loft. Steevens.

The prevalence of this fashion in Shakspeare's time is evinced by the following passage in an old pamphlet entitled The Honeftie of this Age, proving by good circumstance that ihe world was never honeft till now, by Barnabe Rich, quarto, 1615:4" My lady holdeth on her way, perhaps to the tire-maker's shop, where she maketh her crow nes to bestow upon some new fashioned attire, upon such artificial deformed periwigs, that they were fitter to furnish a theatre,


Thus ornament is but the guiled shore
To a most dangerous sea; the beauteous scarf .
Veiling an Indian beauty ;in a word,
The seeming truth which cunning times put on
To entrap the wisest. Therefore, thou gaudy gold,
Hard food for Midas, I will none of thee:
Nor none of thee, thou pale and common drudge
'Tween man and man: but thou, thou meager lead,
Which rather threat'neft, than dost promise aught,
Thy plainness moves me more than cloquence,
And here choose I; Joy be the consequence!


or for her that in a stage-play should represent some hag of hell, than to be used by a christian woman.” Again, ibid: “ These attire-makers within these fortie veares were not known by that name; and but now very lately they kept their lowzie commodity of periwigs, and their monstrous attires closed in boxes ;-and those women that used to weare them would not buy them but in secret, But now they are not ashamed to set them forth upon their stalls, such monstrous mop-powles of haire, so proportioned and deformed, that but within these twenty or thirty yeares would have drawne the passers-by to ftand and gaze, and to wonder at them."

MALONE. 9 -- the guiled lore ] i. e, the treacherous shore. I should not have tought the word wanted explanation, but that some of our modern editors have rejected it, and read gilded. Guiled is the reading of all the ancient copies. Shakspeare in this inftance, as in many others, confounds the participles, Guiled stands for guiling. STEEVENS, 2 - Indian beauty;] Sir Thomas Hanmer reads ;

Indian dowdy. JOHNSON, 3 Thy plainnefs mores me more than eloquence,] The old copies read-paleness. Steevens.

Baffanio is displeased at the golden casket for its gaudiness, and the filver one for its paleness; but what is he charmed with the leaden one for having the very same quality that displeased him in the silver The poet certainly wrote:

Thy plainness moves me more than cloquence : This characterizes the lead from the filver, which paleness does not, they being both pale. Besides, there is a beauty in the antithesis between plainness and eloquence; between paleness and clogaence none. So it is said before of the leaden casket: This third, dull lead, with warning all is blunt."


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