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Line 135. -your child that shall be.] Launcelot, by your child that shall be, may mean, that his duty to his father shall, for the future, shew him to be his child. It became necessary for him to say something of that sort, after all the tricks he had been playing him. STEEVENS.
-more guarded.] i. e. More ornamented. STEEV. 212. Well, if any man in Italy have a fairer table, which doth offer to swear upon a book.] Table is the palm of the hand opened to its utmost.
Launcelot congratulates himself upon his dexterity and good fortune, and, in the height of his rapture, inspects his hand, and congratulates himself upon the felicities in his table. The act of expounding his hand puts him in mind of the action in which the palm is shewn, by raising it to lay it on the book, in judicial attestations. Well, says he, if any man that doth offer to swear upon a book— -Here he stops with an abruptness very common, and proceeds to particulars. JOHNSON.
in Italy have a fairer table,
Line 219. in peril of my life with the edge of a feather-bed ;] A cant phrase to signify the danger of marrying.-A certain French writer uses the same kind of figure, O mon ami, j'aimerois mieux être tombée sur la pointe d'un oreiller, & m'être rompu le WARBURTON.
Line 244. Something too liberal ;] Liberal I have already shewn to be mean, gross, coarse, licentious.
Line 257. --sad ostent--] Grave appearance; shew of staid and serious behaviour.
ACT II. SCENE III.
and get thee,] Mr. Steevens suspects, that
Launcelot meant get thee with child.
ACT II. SCENE V.
Line 348. I am bid forth-] I am invited.
To feed upon
The prodigal Christian.] Shakspeare has made Shylock forget his resolution. In a former scene he declares he will neither cat, drink, nor pray with Christians. Of this circumstance
the poet was aware, and meant only to heighten the malignity of the character, by making him depart from his most settled resolve, for the prosecution of his revenge. STEEVENS.
Line 361. then it was not for nothing that my nose fell a bleeding on Black-Monday last.] "Black-Monday is a moveable day; it is Easter-Monday, and was so called on this occasion: "In the 34th of Edward III. (1360) the 14th of April, and the morrow after Easter-day, King Edward, with his host, lay be"fore the city of Paris; which day was full dark of mist and hail, " and so bitter cold, that many men died on their horses backs "with the cold. Wherefore, unto this day, it hath been called "the Blacke-Monday." Stowe, p. 264-6.
Will be worth a Jewess' eye.] It's worth a Jew's eye,
is a proverb well known.
ACT II. SCENE VI.
Line 405. 0, ten times faster Venus' pigeons fly-] Lovers have in poetry been always called turtles or doves, which in lower language may be pigeons.
Line 415. -scarfed barkwith flags, banners, or scarfs.
-] Means, the vessel adorned
embraced by the strumpet wind!] Thus in Othello:
"The bawdy wind, that kisses all it meets."
Line 456. Now, by my hood, a Gentile, and no Jew.] A jest rising from the ambiguity of Gentile, which signifies both a Heathen, and one well born.
ACT II. SCENE VII.
-as blunt ;] That is, as gross as the dull metal.
-insculp'd] i. e. Engrav'd.
547. Gilded tombs do worms infold.] A tomb is the pro
per repository of a death's-head.
In the old editions, "Gilded timber do worms infold."
Line 550. Your answer had not been inscrol'd;] Since there is an answer inscrol'd or written in every casket, I believe for your
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.
ACT II, SCENE VIII.
Line 601. Slubber not- -] To slubber, is to do any thing im
-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.
STEEVENS. -] When I thought the
Line 614. 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, might not Anthonio embrace heaviness?
and why 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.
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 mean.
JOHNSON. 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
Line 711. regreets ;] i. e. Re-salutations.
ACT III. SCENE I.
-knapp'd ginger;] To knap is to break short.
-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.
ACT III. SCENE II.
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.
fancy-] Fancy means, love.
208. So may the outward shows-] He begins abruptly, the first part of the argument has passed in his mind. JOHNSON. gracious voice,] Pleasing; winning favour. JOHNS. -valour's excrement,] i, e. The beard. In measure rain thy joy,] I believe Shakspeare alluded to the well-known proverb, It cannot rain, but it pours.
Line 262. Methinks it should have pow'r to steal both his,
might be,—And leave himself unfurnish'd.
Line 319. 329.
you can wish none from me :] That is, none away
from me; none that I shall lose, if you gain it.
Line 337. -for intermission-] Delay.
ACT III SCENE III.
Line 490. 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.
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.
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;
Therefore no more of it: here other things,
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.