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we should read this. When the words were written y' and y', the mistake was easy. JOHNSON. Line 558. choose me so.] The old quarto edition of 1600 has no distribution of acts, but proceeds from the beginning to the end in an unbroken tenour. This play therefore having been probably divided without authority by the publishers of the first folio, lies open to a new regulation, if any more commodious division can be proposed. The story is itself so wildly incredible, and the changes of the scene so frequent and capricious, that the probability of action does not deserve much care; yet it may be proper to observe, that, by concluding the second act here, time is given for Bassanio's passage to Belmont. JOHNSON.
Line 601. Slubber not- -] To slubber, is to do any thing imperfectly.
Line 604. -your mind of love:] Your mind of love, may in this instance mean—your loving mind, or your mind which should now be intent only on love.
Line 614. embraced heaviness- -] When I thought the passage corrupted, it seemed to me not improbable that Shakspeare had written entranced heaviness, musing, abstracted, moping melancholy. But I know not why any great efforts should be made to change a word which has no uncommodious or unusual sense. We say of a man now, that he hugs his sorrows, and why might not Anthonio embrace heaviness? JOHNSON.
ACT II. SCENE IX.
Line 635. And so have I addres'd me.] The meaning is, I have prepared myself by the same ceremonies. STEEVENS.
Line 647. -in the force and road of casualty.] i. e. In the power and road, &c.
Line 663. How much low peasantry would then be glean'd From the true seed of honour?] The meaning is, How much meanness would be found among the great, and how much greatness among the Line 689.
I wis,] i. e. I imagine, from the German. 691. Take what wife you will to bed,] Perhaps the poet
had forgotten that he who missed Portia was never to marry any
-regreets ;] i. e. Re-salutations.
ACT III. SCENE I.
-knapp'd ginger;] To knap is to break short.
- 46. -a bankrupt, a prodigal,] There could be, in Shylock's opinion, no prodigality more culpable than such liberality as that by which a man exposes himself to ruin for his friend. JOHNSON.
Line 124. it was my turquoise, 1 had it of Leah, when I was a bachelor.] As Shylock had been married long enough to have a daughter grown up, it is plain he did not value this turquoise on account of the money for which he might hope to sell it, but merely in respect of the imaginary virtues formerly ascribed to the stone. It was said of the Turky-stone, that it faded or brightened in its colour, as the health of the wearer encreased or grew less. STEEVENS.
Line 155. Let fortune go to hell for it,—not I.] The meaning is, "If the worst I fear should happen, and it should prove in the “event, that I, who am justly 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 "just due, not I for violating my oath." HEATH.
Line 156. to peize the time ;] To peize, from the French, is to weigh down, retard, delay.
Line 190. With no less presence,] With the same dignity of mien. JOHNSON.
Line 199. -fancy-] Fancy means, love.
So may the outward shows-] He begins abruptly, the first part of the argument has passed in his mind. JOHNSON. Line 212. gracious voice,] Pleasing; winning favour. JOHNS. valour's excrement,] i. e. The beard.
248. In measure rain thy joy,] I believe Shakspeare alJuded to the well-known proverb, It cannot rain, but it pours.
Line 262. Methinks it should have pow'r to steal both his, And leave itself unfurnish'd:] Perhaps the reading might be,-And leave himself unfurnish'd. JOHNSON. blent-] Blended.
you can wish none from me :] That is, none away from me; none that I shall lose, if you gain it. JOHNSON. for intermission-] Delay.
—so fond-] i. e. So foolish.
The duke cannot deny, &c.] If, says he, the duke stop the course of law, it will be attended with this inconvenience, that stranger merchants, by whom the wealth and power of this city is supported, will cry out of injustice. For the known stated law being their guide and security, they will never bear to have the current of it stopped on any pretence of equity whatsoever. WARBURTON.
Line 490. 510.
ACT III. SCENE IV.
Line 535. Of lineaments, of manners, &c.] The wrong pointing has made this fine sentiment nonsense. As implying that friendship could not only make a similitude of manners, but of faces. The true sense is, lineaments of manners, i. e. form of the manners, which, says the speaker, must needs be proportionate. WARB. The poet only means to say, that corresponding proportions of body and mind are necessary for those who spend their time together. STEEVENS.
Line 537. —the bosom lover of my lord,] Mr. Malone has judiciously remarked, that the term lover was applied to the male sex-as an expression of friendship. See Shakspeare's Sonnets.
Line 543. Hear other things,] In former editions,
This comes too near the praising of myself;
Lorenzo, I commit, &c.] Portia finding the reflections she had made came too near self praise, begins to chide herself for it; says, She'll say no more of that sort; but call a new subject. The regulation I have made in the text was likewise prescribed by Dr. Thirlby. THEOBALD.
Line 575. with imagin'd speed-] i. e. With a speed equal to thought.
Line 576. Unto the Tranect,] The old copies concur in reading, Unto the Tranect, which appears to be derived from tranare, and was very probably a word current in the time of our author.
ACT III. SCENE V.
—therefore, I promise you, I fear you.] i. e. I fear
for you. Line 674. how his words are suited !] I believe the meaning is: What a series or suite of words he has independent of meaning; how one word draws on another without relation to the matter.
ACT IV. SCENE I.
Line 24. -apparent-] That is, sceming; not real. JOHNS. -where-] For whereas. JOHNSON. Enough to press a royal merchant down,] This epithet of royal merchant, was in our poet's time more striking, and better understood; because Gresham was then commonly dignified with the title of the royal merchant. JOHNSON.
I'll not answer that:
But, say, it is my humour ;] The Jew being asked a question, which the law does not require him to answer, stands upon his right, and refuses; but afterwards gratifies his own malignity, by such answers as he knows will aggravate the pain of the enquirer. I will not answer, says he, as to a legal or serious question; but since you want an answer, will this serve you? JOHNS. Line 54. -for affection,
Mistress of passion, sways it to the mood
Of what it likes, or loaths:] i. e. Those that know how to operate upon the passions of men, rule the affection by making it operate in obedience to the notes which please or disgust it. JOHNSON,
Line 98. —many a purchas'd slave,] This argument considered as used to the particular persons, seems conclusive. I see not how Venetians or Englishmen, while they practise the pur
chase and sale of slaves, can much enforce or demand the law of doing to others as we would that they should do to us. JOHNSON. -Bellario, a learned doctor, Whom I have sent for- -] The doctor and the court are here somewhat unskilfully brought together. That the duke would, on such an occasion, consult a doctor of great reputation, is not unlikely, but how should this be foreknown by Portia ? JOHNSON.
Line 135. Not on thy sole, but on thy soul, harsh Jew,] This lost jingle Mr. Theobald found again; but knew not what to make of it when he had it, as appears by his paraphrase, Though thou thinkest that thou art whetting thy knife on the soal of thy shoe, yet it is upon thy soul, thy immortal part. Absurd! the conceit is, that his soul was so hard that it had given an edge to his knife. WARBURTON.
Line 227. My deeds upon my head!] This is adopted from the old imprecation of the Jews to Pilate." His blood be on us and "our children."
Line 235. malice bears down truth.] Malice oppresses honesty, a true man in old language is an honest man. We now call the jury good men and true. JOHNSON.
Line 438. Lam content,] The terms proposed have been misunderstood. Antonio declares, that as the duke quits one half of the forfeiture, he is likewise content to abate his claim, and desires not the property but the use or produce only of the half, and that only for the Jew's life, unless we read, as perhaps is right, upon my death.
of twelve men, to condemn thee to be hanged.
JOHNSON. -thou should'st have had ten more,] i. e. A jury THEOBALD. Line 450. grace of pardon;] Thus the old copies. The same kind of expression occurs in Othello." I humbly do be "seech you of your pardon." STEEVENS.
ACT IV. SCENE II.
Line 517. upon more advice,] Advice means, consideration