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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 unfurnish'd 16: Yet look, how far The substance of
my praise doth
this shadow In underprizing it, so far this shadow Doth limp behind the substance.--Here's the scroll, The continent and summary of
fortune for your bliss,
your lady is,
[Kissing her. I come by note, to give, and to receive. Like one of two contending in a prize, That thinks he hath done well in people's eyes,
16 i. e. unfurnished with a companion or fellow. In Fletcher's Lover's Progress, 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.' 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 : ‘If Apelles had beene tasked to have drawne her counterfeit, her two bright burning lampes would have so dazzled his quick-seeing sences, that quite dispairing to expresse 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: What are our curled and crisped lockes, but snares and nets to catch and entangle the hearts of gazers, &c.'
Hearing applause, and universal shout,
Por. You see me, lord Bassanio, where I stand,
and Is now converted: but now I was the lord Of this fair mansion, master of
my servants, Queen o'er myself; and even now,
now, This house, these servants, and this same myself, Are yours, my lord; I give them with this ring; Which when you part from, lose, or give away, Let it presage the ruin of your love, And be my vantage to exclaim on you.
17 The folio reads, “Is sum of nothing, which may probably be the true reading, as it is Portia's intention, in this speech, to undervalue herself.
Bass. Madam, you have bereft me of all words, Only my blood speaks to you in my veins : And there is such confusion in my powers, As, after some oration fairly spoke By a beloved prince, there doth appear Among the buzzing pleased multitude: Where every something, being blent together, Turns to a wild of nothing, save of joy, Express'd, and not express’d: But when this ring Parts from this finger, then parts life from hence; 0, then be bold to say, Bassanio's dead.
Ner. My lord and lady, it is now our time, That have stood by, and seen our wishes prosper, To cry, good joy; Good joy, my lord, and lady!
Gra. My lord Bassanio, and my gentle lady,
you can wish;
Bass. With all my heart, so thou canst get a wife.
18 That is, none away from me; none that I shall lose, if you gain it.
19 Pause, delay.
Is this true, Nerissa? Ner. Madam, it is, so you stand pleas'd withal. Bass. And do you, Gratiano, mean good faith? Gra. Yes, 'faith, my lord. Bass. Our feast shall be much honour'd in your
marriage. Gra. We'll play with them, the first boy for a thousand ducats.
Ner. What, and stake down?
Enter LORENZO, JESSICA, and SALERIO. Bass. Lorenzo, and Salerio, welcome hither? If that the youth of my new interest here Have power to bid you welcome :-By your leave, I bid my very friends and countrymen, Sweet Portia, welcome. Por.
So do I,
lord; They are entirely welcome.
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 BASSANIO a letter. Bass.
his letter, I pray you, tell me how my good friend doth.
Sale. Not sick, my lord, unless it be in mind; Nor well, unless in mind : his letter there Will show you his estate.
Gra. Nerissa, cheer yon stranger; bid her wel
Your hand, Salerio; What's the news from Venice?
0, sweet Portia, Here are a few of the unpleasant'st words That ever blotted paper! Gentle lady, When I did first impart my love to you, I freely told you, all the wealth I had Ran in my veins, I was a gentleman; And then I told you true: and yet, dear lady, Rating myself at nothing, you shall see How much I was a braggart: When I told you My state was nothing, I should then have told
you That I was worse than nothing: for, indeed, I have engag'd myself to a dear friend, Engag'd my friend to his mere enemy, To feed my means. Here is a letter, lady; The paper as the body of my friend, And every word in it a gaping wound. Issuing life-blood-But is it true, Salerio ? Have all his ventures fail'd ? What, not one hit ? From Tripolis, from Mexico, and England, From Lisbon, Barbary, and India ?
20 It should be remembered that stedfast, sad, grave, sober, were ancient syr nes of constant.