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256.

Signior Antonio, many a time and oft, In the Rialto have you rated me.

Here again an affectation of ingenuity has, of loob late, on the stage, sophisticated the plain sense of this passage:

Many a time and oft” is a phrase, of such general as well as ancient authority, that instances of its use would be superfluous: but, to serve the purpose of those refiners, the phrase is split, and the passage rendered thus,

- Many a time and oft, " In the Rialto,” &c.

. But it was only in the Rialto that Antonio was likely to encounter Shylock, and there where, of course, he would "rate" him.

- My monies and my usances.The instances produced by Mr. Reed to shew that usance formerly signified usury, will, I believe, be found to prove directly the contrary; and will support Mr. Ritson's remark, that Mr. Steevens was mistaken in that interpretation of the word. The writer quoted by Mr. Reed states, that “a borrower had received a thousand pounds, and that this sum had been enormously augmented by usury,” which the lender“ termed by a more cleanly name, usance,” &c. The gentleman, indeed, here, who was imposed upon, might stigmatise isance as fraud, usury, or robbery, but certainly the lender was better acquainted with the value of the cleanly distinction he had made; and Shylock, speaking of his own practices, would not be very ready to declare that usury was among them.

258. “You spit upon me.

The correct form of the præterimperfect tense of this verb, spat, was beginning in our author's time to grow obsolete: the quarto here has spet, upon which occasion I must beg leave to correct a mistake made by Mr. Steevens, who, following the printed editions of Lysidas, observes that Milton has, in that poem, adopted this mode of spelling the word.

-The dragon womb “Of Stygian darkness, spets her thickest gloom.”

But Milton, in the Cambridge MS. has written not spets, but spits.

I am as like to spit on thee again,&c. This was a grossness of insult which it ill became Antonio to have offered much more so to exult in. " Lend it rather to thine enemy,

Who, if he break, thou may'st with better face Exact the penalty."

Here is a nominative case without object or agency: the conjunction that might stand in the place of “who."

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ACT II. SCENE I.

262. "

By this scimitar, That slew the Sophy, and a Persian prince, That won three fields of Sultan Solyman.

Mr. Tyrwhitt, in extricating the poet from a supposed difficulty, appears to have entangled himself: Morochus is still boasting of his own prowess and of his scimitar, that won three fields of Sultan Solyman, besides having slain the Soply, &c. so that he was not in the army of the Sultan, but opposed to him. This oversight of Mr. Tyrwhitt's is, I find, avoided in the last edition by Mr. Reed.

SCENE II.

265. "

Away, says the fiend, for the heavens.“ For the heavens” may be an adjuration for heaven's sake! or perhaps the fiend would suggest that while Launcelot remained with the Jew, he was out of the pale of Grace, and that by running away only he could hope for heaven; if so, it is a very friendly fiend. 270. It should seem, then, that Dobbin's tail

grows backward." Launcelot quibbles upon

grows backward,” as growing behind, and, decreasing--a conceit that Hamlet also indulges in, “ Yourself shall be as old as I am, if, like a crab, you could go backward."

SCENE III.

277. If a Christian do not play the knare,

and get thee, I am much deceived.The reading of the second folio, " did not get thee,” though so severely reprobated by Mr. Malone, appears more congenial to Launcelot's humour: he would compliment Jessica with a Chris

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tian father, at the expence of her mother's chas-
tity. . If the old reading must stand, Mr. Steevens
has suggested the true meaning.-Mr. Malone's I
cannot but consider as a feeble interpretation-it
required noextraordinary sagacity in Launcelot, at
this time, to predict that Lorenzo would carry
Jessica away from her father's house.
" If a Christian do not play the knave and get

thee.
I am very strongly of opinion with the ignorant
editor of the second folio, that we ought to read
did; and in this I am confirmed by the passage
in the 3d Act, to which Mr. Malone himself re-
fers. I shall patiently submit to whatever impu-
tation of folly and absurdity the avowal of this
opinion may bring on me. Lord CHEDWORTH.

SCENE IV.

279. Break-up this."

I do not perceive here any allusion to carving, as Mr. Steevens supposes. Every one knows what it is to break-up a letter, as in the Winter's Tale, “Break

up
the seal and read.”

LORD CHEDWORTH.

Whiter than the paper it writ on,

Is the fair hand that writ." “Writ” for “wrote" is a corruption that some of our most careful writers are chargeable with.

SCENE V.

282.

The wry-neck'd fife."

I could not have thought it possible for any one so to mistake the sense of this expression as Mr. Monk Mason has done, in ascribing the wry-neckedness, not to the performer, but the instrument, which he supposes was crooked formerly. Lord Chedworth offers to read actively, wry-neck fife, i. e. the fife which wries the neck of him who plays on it.

SCENE VI.

286. “ I am glad'tis night, you do not look on me,

For I am much asham'd of my exchange.Juliet consoles herself with the same circumstance“ I am glad the mask of night is on my face, “ Else would a maiden blush bepaint my cheek." 287. Too light

This was an opportunity for a quibble too tempting to be omitted.

SCENE VII.

292. “Let all of his complexion chuse me so."

Dr. Johnson's suggested regulation should be adopted, and the 2nd Act end here.

ACT. III. SCENE I.

508.“ Turquoise."

See Mr. Steevens's note.-From this imputed

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