« PreviousContinue »
Muft yield to such inevitable shame,
Bas: This is no answer, thou unfeeling man,
Shy. I am not bound to please thee with my answer.
Ant. I pray you, think you question with a Jew.
Bal. For thy three thousand ducats here is fix.
Duke. How shalt thou hope for mercy, rend'ring none?
Shy. What judgment Mall I dread, doing no wrong?
Be feason'd with such viands; you will answer,
So do I answer you;
Duke. Upon my pow'r I may dismiss this Court,
Sal. My Lord, here stays, without,
Duke. Bring us the letters, call the messenger.
Bas. Good cheer, Anthonio ; what, man, courage yet: The Jew shall have my felh, blood, bones, and all, Ere thou shalt lose for me one drop of blood.
Ant. I am a tainted weather of the flock, Meetest for death : the weakeft kind of fruit Drops earliest to the ground, and so let me. You cannot better be employ'd, Bafanio, Than to live fill, and write mine epitaph.
Enter Nerisa, dress'd like a Lawyer's Clerk. Duke. Came you from Padua, from Bellario? (25) Ner. From both, my lord; Bellario greets your Grace, Bal. Why doft thou whet thy knife so earnestly? Sby. To cut the forfeit from that bankrupt there. Gra. Not on thy foale, but on thy soul, harth Jer, (26)
(25) From botb: my lord Bellario greets your Grace.] Thus the two old Folios and Mr. Pope in his 4to, had inaccurately pointed this pafsage, by which a doctor of laws was at once rais'd to the dignity of the peerage. I set it right in my SHAKESPEARE reffor’d, as Mr. Pope has since done from thence in his last edition.
(26) Not on tby foale, but on tby foul, barfo Jewn] I was obliged, from the authority of the old Folios, to restore this conceit, and jingle upon two words alike in sound, but differing in sense. Gratiano thus rates the Jew; ' Tho? thou thinkest, that thou art whetting thy knife
on the soale of thy shoe, yet it is upon thy foul, thy immortal part, s that thou do'f it, thou inexorable man! There is no room to doubt
Thou mak'it thy knife keen ; for no metal can,
Shy. No, none that thou hast wit enough to make.
Gra. O be thou damn'd, inexorable dog,
Shy. 'Till thou canst rail the seal from off my bond,
To cureleis ruin. I stand here for law. (27)
-You have dancing shoes,
Ihat stakes me to the ground; I cannot move.
I am too fore enpierced with his shaft,
'To suare with his light feathers. So in King Jobn:
-0, lawful let it be, That I have room with Rome to curse awhile ! And, in Julius Cæfar;
Now is it Rome, indeed; and room enough,
When there is in it but one only man. But this sort of jingle is too perpetual with our_author to need any farther instances.
(27) To careless ruin.] This, I am sure, is a signal inftance of Mr. Pope's carelessness, for both the old 4tos have it carelefs. The players in their edition, for some particular whim, chang'd the word to endless; which Mr. Rowe has copied, because, i presume, he had never seen the old Quartos. Our author has used this epithet, curte less, again in his poem, callid, Tarquin and Lucrece. St. 111.
O, hateful, vaporous and night!
Duke. This letter from Bellario doth commend
Ner. He attendeth here hard by
Duke. With all my heart. Some three or four of you
OUR Grace shall understand, that, at the receipt of
your letter, I am very fick : but at the instant that your messenger came, in loving visitation was with me a young Doctor of Rome, his name is Balthazar : I acquainted him with the cause in controversy between the Jew and Anthonio the merchant. We turn'd o'er many books together: he is furnished with my opinion, which, bettered with his own learning, (the greatness whereof I cannot enough commend,) comes with him at my importunity, to fill up your Grace's request in my stead. I beseech you, let his lack of years be no impediment to let him lack a reverend estima. tion: For I never knew so young a body with yo old a head, I leave him to your gracious acceptance, whose trial shall better publish his commendation.
Enter Portia, dress'd like a Doctor of Laws. Duke. You hear the learn'd Bellario, what he writes, And here, I take it, is the Doctor come: Give me your hand. Came you from old Bellario? Por, I did, my
lord. Duke. You're welcome: take
Por. I am informed throughly of the case.
Duke. Anthonio and old Shylock, both stand forth.
Ant. Ay, so he says.
Por. The quality of mercy is not strain'd !
Shy. My deeds upon my head! I crave the law,
(28) Tbat malice bears down truth.] 'I propos’d, in my SHAKESPEARE rejlor'd, to read rutb here; i. e. Compassion, mercy. But upon more mature advice, I believe, the text needs no alteration. Truth may mean here, reason; the reasonable offers of accommodation, which we have made.