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dam, to take their leave; and there is a forerunner come from a fifth, the prince of Morocco; who brings word, the prince, his master, will be here to-night.
Por. If I could bid the fifth welcome with so good heart as I can bid the other four farewell, I should be glad of his approach . if he have the condition 8 of a saint, and the complexion of a devil, I had rather he should shrive me than wive me. Come, Nerissa. Sirrah, go before.-Whiles we shut the gate upon one wooer, another knocks at the door.
-condition) i.e. the temper, qualities. So in Othello : “ and then of so gentle a condition.”
SCENE SCENE III.*
A public Place in Venice.
Enter Bassanio and Shylock. Shy. Three thousand ducats,—well. Bass. Ay, sir, for three months. Shy. For three months.--well.
Bass. For the which, as I told you, Anthonio shall be bound.
Shy. Anthonio shall become bound,-well.
Bass. May you stead me? Will you pleasure me? Shall I know your answer
r? hy. Three thousand ducats, for three months, and Anthonio bound.
Bass. Your answer to that.
Bass. Have you heard any imputation to the contrary?
Shy. Ho, no, no, no, no ;-my meaning, in saying he is a good man, is, to have you
* SCENE III.-Anthonio, in the conclusion of the first scene, at parting says
“ Go, presently inquire, and so will I,
• Where money is;" &c. It is probable, therefore, as no time was lost in the pursuit, that the interview with Shylock in the present scene happens shortly after in the same day.Bassanio here proposes to him to dine with them, at the intended meeting, most probably, alluded to in the first scene. E.
understand me, that he is sufficient : yet his means are in supposition :1 he hath an argosy bound to Tripolis, another to the Indies; I understand moreover upon the Rialto, he hath a third at Mexico, a fourth for England, -and other ventures he hath, squander'd abroad: But ships are but boards, sailors but men: there be land rats, and water rats,2 water thieves, and land thieves; I mean, pirates ; and then, there is the peril of waters, winds, and rocks: The man is, notwithstanding, sufficient :-three thousand ducats ;-I think, I may take his bond.
Bass. Be assured you may.
may be assured, I will bethink me:
May I speak with Anthonio? Bass. If it please you to dine with us.
Shy. Yes, to smell pork ; to eat of the habitation which your prophet, the Nazarite,
-his means are in supposition :] Are but supposed, the subject of conjecture, rather than assurance, as depending upon circumstances of so fallacious and uncertain a nature. E.
-water thieves, and land thieves,] It seems that these ought to change places, for the purpose of connecting the former with what follows, viz.
“ I mean pirates," &c. E.
conjured the devil into:3 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?
ceries 3 -the habitation which your prophet, the Nazarite, conjured the devil into :] Perhaps there is no character through all Shakespeare, 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 examplar of that peculiar people.
HENLEY. 4 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 hold on Jacob when he wrestled with him. See Genesis xxxii. 24, &c.
On me, my bargains, and my well-won thrift,5
Shylock, do you hear ?
[To Anth. Your worship was the last man in our mouths. Anth. Shylock, albeit, I neither lend nor
borrow, By taking, nor by giving of excess, Yet, to supply the ripe wants of my friend, I'll break a custom : Is he yet possess'd,7
well-won thrift,] The folio reads,well-worn thrift. MALONE.
-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. Is he yet possess'd,] i.e. acquainted, informed. So, in T So, in Trwelfth Night :
« Possess us, possess “ us, tell us something of him.” IDEM.