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After Faed. 










COPYRIGHT, 1870, 1883, AND 1898, BY 



K. P. 21 


Horace l&otoartr jfurness 







W. J. R. 


MY edition of The Merchant of Venice was first pub- 
lished in 1870. It was the initial volume of the com- 
plete' edition of Shakespeare's plays and poems, in forty 
volumes, which was finished in 1883. 

As I stated in the original preface, the book was 
planned and nearly completed more than three years 
earlier, but was laid aside for other work and not taken 
up again until the summer .of 1870. Meanwhile the 
notes had been used with classes in school and out of 
school, and received such revision as was suggested by 
that experience and by further study of Shakespeare. 

When I began to prepare the book, Shakespeare was 
just coming to be studied in the secondary schools. 
Only a few annotated editions of single plays had been 
published in England, and none, so far as I am aware, 
in this country. Helps for the school study of Shake- 
speare were few and expensive. The Cowden-Clarke 
Concordance cost ten or twelve dollars. The first vol- 
ume of Dr. Furness's " New Variorum " edition (Romeo 
and Juliet') was published in 1871, but the second (Mac- 
beth, the first of the plays commonly read in schools) 
not until 1873. Critical commentaries on Shakespeare 
were, as a rule, to be had only in costly English edi- 
tions. High school libraries were few and small, and 
public libraries, except in the larger cities, contained 
but little Shakespearian literature. Few teachers in 
secondary schools throughout the country were better 
equipped than I was, some fifteen years earlier, when 


8 Preface 

the only Shakespeare I had was a one-volume edition 
without notes, and my pupils had to use such editions 
as they found at home or among their friends. 

In editing this play, therefore, it was my aim, as I 
said in the preface, to furnish " a pure text and the 
notes needed for its thorough elucidation and illustra 
tion." Having in mind the needs of the teacher as 
well as the student, I preferred, in these notes, to err, if 
at all, on the side of fullness. The book was favourably 
received, but the publishers were surprised, as I was, 
when the demand for similar editions of all the plays 
generally read in schools and colleges was followed by 
a call from the reading public for the rest of Shake- 
speare's works in the same form. 

The changes made now in revising the book have 
been mainly due to the changes that have taken place 
in the educational situation during the past thirty-five 
years. For instance, I have omitted the greater part 
of the notes on textual variations. This play, with most 
of the others read in schools, is now among the twelve 
plays that Dr. Furness has edited. No teacher can 
afford to do without his encyclopedic volumes, in which 
all the readings and notes of the early editions and of 
the standard modern editions are epitomized, together 
tvvith large extracts from the best commentaries and 
much admirable criticism by Dr. Furness himself. The 
textual readings, however, are for the average teacher 
the least important part of the material in that monu- 
mental edition. The text of Shakespeare is now virtu- 
. ally settled. Many emendations have been proposed in 
recent years, but those that have been generally ac- 
cepted could be counted on the fingers of one hand, 
with possibly a finger or two to spare. Scattered cruces, 
due to the corruption of the earlier editions, still re- 
main to perplex the critics, who will probably quarrel 

Preface 9 

over them to the end of time ; and to some of these, 
as illustrations of an interesting but exasperating class 
of Shakespearian problems, I make brief reference in 
the present notes. 

I have also omitted most of the " Critical Comments " 
from the introduction, as the books from which they 
were taken are now readily accessible in public and 
school libraries. For these extracts I have substituted 
familiar comments of my own, and have added more of 
the same kind in the Appendix. A concise account of 
Shakespeare's metre has also been inserted as an intro- 
duction to the notes. 

Minor changes have been made throughout the 
notes. Some have been abridged or condensed, some 
have been expanded, and new ones have been added 
here and there. In very few instances, however, have 
I found it necessary to make any radical alterations, as 
the work of revision has been going on ever since the 
book was published. It has been so often reprinted 
that I have had opportunities every year sometimes 
several times in a year for making the slight changes 
and additions that seemed to be necessary or desirable. 
In 1883, when line numbers were first inserted, new 
plates were required, and the introduction and notes 
were thoroughly revised. More than five pages were 
added to the introduction, and about five more were 
afterwards appended to the notes. 

The present edition is, nevertheless, substantially a 
new book, and many teachers will, I think, prefer it to 
the old one. Both can be used, without serious incon- 
venience, in the same class or club. 

I may add that, in the revision, I have not been 
inclined to insert the " Hints for Teachers " that are to 
be found in some good school editions. The teacher 
who does not need them must regard them as an imper- 

io Freface 

tinence. Those who do need them are, in my opinion, 
quite as likely to misuse them as to profit by them. If 
they are made full enough and explicit enough to be of 
real service to the young and inexperienced teacher, 
they should be printed in a separate booklet, like my 
Elementary Study of English, which was prepared 
mainly as a guide to the use of certain books for 
younger students. I intend to prepare something of 
the kind on the study of Shakespeare. 





The History of the Play 21 

The Sources of the Plot 23 

Shakespeare and Italy 26 


Act I 37 

Act II 56 

Act III 84 

Act IV no 

ActV . .129 

NOTES ..... 143 


Comments on Some of the Characters .... 207 

The Law in the Trial Scene 227 

The Time-Analysis of the Play 229 

List of Characters in the Play . . . . . 230 







His Life. William Shakespeare was born at Strat- 
ford-upon-Avon, in the county of Warwick, England, in 
April, 1564. He was baptized on the 26th of April 
(Old Style) ; and, as it was a common practice to christen 
infants when three days old, the tradition which makes 
his birthday the 23d (May 3, as dates are now reckoned) 
is generally accepted. His father, John Shakespeare, 
who had been a farmer in a neighbouring village, came 
to Stratford about 1553, and adopted the trade of a 
glover. His mother, Mary Arden, belonged to a younger 
branch of a good old Warwickshire family, and inherited 
a considerable estate from her father. John Shake- 
speare was evidently shrewd, energetic, ambitious, and 
public-spirited. He made money, and was popular with 



The Life and Works of 

his fellow-townsmen. After passing through the lowef 
grades of office, he was elected alderman, and in 1568 
became high bailiff or mayor. 


Of a family of four sons and four daughters, William 
was the third child, but the eldest son. When he was 
seven years old, he was doubtless sent to the Stratford 
grammar school, where he got all the regular schooling 
he ever had. In 1582, when he was only eighteen, he 
married Anne Hathaway, of the hamlet of Shottery, near 

Shakespeare 1 5 

Stratford, who was some eight years older than himself. 
A daughter was born to him in 1583, and twins a 
boy and a girl two years later. He had no other 


It was probably in the next year, 1586, that Shake- 
speare went to London, where he became, first an actor, 
then a writer for the stage. As an actor he seems to 
have made no special mark, but as a writer he very soon 
distinguished himself, and in a few years had won the 
foremost rank among the dramatists of his time. In 
1598, Francis Meres, in his Palladis Tamia, or Wifs 


The Life and Works of 

Treasury, speaks of him as " the most excellent among 
the English for both kinds of tragedy and comedy." 
His works not only became widely popular, but they 
brought him special marks of favour and approval from 
Queen Elizabeth and her successor, James, and gained 


for him the patronage and friendship of some of the 
most accomplished men of rank of that day. 

But while thus prosperous and honoured in London, 
Shakespeare continued to look upon Stratford as his 
home. There he had left his wife and children, and 
thither, after he had secured a competency, he returned 
to spend the evening of his days. It was probably 
about the year 1611 that he settled down in Stratford, 

Shakespeare 17 

at New Place, an estate purchased in 1597. His wife 
was still living, and also his two daughters, of whom 
the elder, Susanna, was married in June, 1607, to Dr. 
John Hall, an eminent physician of the time. The 
younger daughter, Judith, was married to Mr. Thomas 
Quiney, a Stratford vintner, in February, 1616. Ham- 
net, the poet's son, had died in 1596, in his twelfth year. 

Shakespeare died at Stratford on the 23d of April, 
1616, and was buried in the parish church. 

The poet's family became extinct with his grand- 
children. Elizabeth, the only child of the Halls, was 
twice married, but had no offspring. Thomas and 
Judith Quiney had three sons, one of whom died in 
babyhood, the others at eighteen and twenty respec- 
tively. Judith lived to the age of seventy-six, dying in 
February, 1638. Lady Barnard (Elizabeth Hall) died 
in February, 1669, at the age of sixty-one. 

His Works. The first work of Shakespeare which 
was printed with his name was the poem of Venus and 
Adonis, which appeared in 1593. In the dedication to 
the Earl of Southampton the author styles it " the first 
heir of his invention. " In 1 594, The Rape of Lucrece was 
published. Both these poems were reprinted several 
times in the poet's lifetime. His only other works, 
besides the plays, are a few of the pieces in The Pas- 
sionate Pilgrim (a small collection of poems, first printed 
in 1599), and his Sonnets (154 in number), with a poem 
entitled A Lovers Complaint, which appeared together 
in 1609. 



The Life and Works of 

The first edition of his collected dramatic works 
contained all the plays generally included in modern 
editions, with the exception of Pericles, and was pub- 
lished in a folio volume, in 1623, or not till seven years 
after his death. It was put forth by two of his friends 



and fellow-actors, John Heminge and Henrie Condell, 
and the title-page declares it to be printed " according 
to the true original copies." The preface also con- 
demns all preceding editions of separate plays 1 as 

1 Eighteen of the plays are known to have been separately printed, 
some of them more than once, in Shakespeare's lifetime. Othello was 
also printed separately in 1622. All these editions are in quarto form; 
and are commonly known as the old or early quartos. 

Shakespeare 1 9 

" stolen and surreptitious copies, maimed and deformed 
by the frauds and stealths of injurious impostors," while 
it claims that the publishers of this volume had the use 
of the author's manuscripts. They probably had the 
use of such of his papers as were in the possession of 
the Blackfriars Theatre, to which they, like himself, 
belonged. The volume, however, had no proper edit- 
ing, and every page is disfigured by the grossest typo- 
graphical errors. While it is the earliest and the only 
authentic edition of the plays, it cannot be accepted as 
anything like an infallible authority in all cases for 
what Shakespeare actually wrote. The quartos, though 
they were all piratical ventures, are of considerable 
value in the correction of its errors and imperfections. 

The volume just described is commonly known as 
the " first folio." A second folio edition, including the 
same plays, appeared in 1632. It contains some new 
readings, which are probably nothing more than the 
conjectural emendations of the unknown editor. 

The third folio, a reprint of the second, with few 
variations of any value or interest, was first published 
in 1663. It was reissued the next year, with the addi- 
tion of seven plays : Pericles , The London Prodigal, 
Thomas Lord Cromwell, Sir John Oldcastle, The Puritan 
Widow, A Yorkshire Tragedy, and Locrine. Pericles is 
the only one of these in which Shakespeare could have 
had any hand. 

A fourth and last folio was brought out in 1685. It 
was a reprint of that of 1664 (including the seven plays 

2O The Life and Works of Shakespeare 

just mentioned), with the spelling somewhat modernized, 
but few other changes. 

These four folios were the only editions of the plays 
brought out in the seventeenth century. The eigh- 
teenth century produced a long succession of editors 
Rowe, Pope, Theobald, Hanmer, Warburton, Johnson, 
Steevens, Capell, Reed, Malone, and Rann. In 1803 
(2d edition, 1813) appeared what is known as Reed^s 
Second Edition of Johnson and Steevens ', in twenty-one 
volumes, in which were incorporated most of the notes 
of the preceding editions. This was followed by the 
Variorum of 1821 ', also in twenty-one volumes, mostly 
prepared by Malone, but completed and carried through 
the press by his friend Boswell. The most important 
English editions of more recent date are those of 
Knight, Collier, Singer, Staunton, Dyce, Clark and 
Wright (the " Cambridge " edition), Charles and Mary 
Cowden-Clarke, Halliwell-Phillipps, and Irving and 
Marshall (the " Henry Irving " edition). Of American 
editions the most noteworthy are Verplanck's (1847). 
Hudson's (1855 and 1881), Grant White's (1857-1865 
and 1883), and Furness's (" New Variorum " edition, 
begun in 1871). 




The Merchant of Venice is the last on a list of Shake- 
speare's plays given by Francis Meres in his Palladis 
Tamia, 1598. In the same year it was entered as fol- 
lows on the Register of the Stationers' Company : 

"22 Julii, 1598 James Robertes.] A booke of the 
Marchaunt of Venyce, or otherwise called the Jewe of 


22 The Merchant of Venice 

Venyce. Provided that yt bee not prynted by the said 
James Robertes, or anye other whatsoever, without 
lycence first had from the Right honorable the lord 

The company of players to which Shakespeare be- 
longed, and for which he wrote, was " the Lord Cham- 
berlain's Servants " ; and the above order was meant 
to prohibit the publication of the play until the patron 
of the company should give his permission. This he 
appears not to have done until two years later, when 
the following entry was made in the Register : 

" 28 Octobris, 1600, Thomas haies.] . . .the booke of 
the merchant of Venyce." 

Soon after this entry, or before the end of 1600, the 
play was published by Heyes in quarto form; and 
another edition, also in quarto, was issued the same 
year by Roberts. 

Philip Henslowe, a theatrical manager of the time> 
in his Diary, in which he kept his accounts, with the 
dates of plays that he brought out, etc. (a book of great 
value to students of dramatic history), records, under 
the date "25 of aguste, 1594," the performance of "the 
Venesyon comodey," which is marked ne, as a new 
play. Some critics take this to be The Merchant of 
Venice, since the company of players to which Shake- 
speare belonged was then acting at Henslowe 's theatre ; 
but it is quite impossible that the play could have been 
written as early as 1594. The more probable date is 
1596 or 1597. 

Introduction 23 


In the plot of The Merchant of Venice two distinct 
stories that of the bond and that of the caskets are 
skilfully interwoven. Both are found in the Gesta Roma- 
norum, a Latin collection of fictitious narratives, which 
had been translated into English as early as the time of 
Henry VI. It is probable, however, that Shakespeare 
was indebted, directly or indirectly, for the incidents 
connected with the bond to a story in // Pecorone, a 
collection of tales by Giovanni Fiorentino, first pub- 
lished at Milan in 1558, though written almost two 
centuries earlier. In this story we have a rich lady 
at Belmont, who is to be won on certain conditions of 
a nature unsuited for dramatic purposes ; and she is 
finally won by a young merchant, whose friend, having 
become surety for him to a Jew under the same penalty 
as in the play, is rescued by the adroitness of the mar- 
ried lady, disguised as a lawyer. She receives, as in 
the play, her marriage ring as a gratuity, and afterwards 
banters her husband, as Portia does, upon the loss of it. 
An English translation of the book was extant in Shake- 
speare's time. 

Possibly the dramatist was somewhat indebted to The 
Orator, translated from the French of Alexander Sil- 
vayn (London, 1596). Portions of the 95th Declama- 
tion in this book are strikingly like some of Shylock's 
speeches at the trial. It is doubtful whether the old 
ballad of Gernutus, which some critics believe that 

24 The Merchant of Venice 

Shakespeare used, is earlier or later than the play; 
but even if it was earlier, it is improbable that he 
was indebted to it, or to sundry other versions of the 
story, in prose or verse, which editors and commen- 
tators have discovered. 

There is good reason, however, to believe that the 
bond and casket legends had been blended in dramatic 
form before Shakespeare began to write for the stage. 
Stephen Gosson, a Puritan author, in his Schoole of 
Abuse (1579), excepts a few plays from the sweeping 
condemnation of his " plesaunt invective against Poets, 
Pipers, Plaiers, Jesters, and such-like caterpillers of a 
Common welth." Among these exceptions he mentions 
" The Jew, . . . representing the gree dines se of worldly 
chusers, and the bloody minds of usurers" We have no 
other knowledge of this play of The Jew ; but the 
nationality of its hero and the double moral, agree- 
ing so exactly with that of The Merchant of Venice, 
render it probable that the plots of the two dramas 
were essentially the same, and that Shakespeare, in 
this instance as in others, worked upon some rough 
model already prepared for him. The question, how- 
ever, is not of great importance. " Be the merit of 
the fable whose it may, the characters, the language, 
the poetry, and the sentiment are his, and his alone. 
To no other writer of the period could we be indebted 
for the charming combination of womanly grace, and 
dignity, and playfulness which is found in Portia ; for 
the exquisite picture of friendship between Bassanio 

Introduction 25 

and Antonio ; for the profusion of poetic beauties scat- 
tered over the play ; and for the masterly delineation 
of that perfect type of Judaism in olden times, the 
character of Shy lock himself " (Staunton). 

Similarly, Mr. Grant White, after referring to Shake- 
speare's indebtedness for the materials of his plot to 
the old story-tellers, and probably for their combination 
in dramatic form to an earlier playwright, asks : " What 
then remains to Shakespeare? and what is there to 
show that he is not a plagiarist? Everything that 
makes The Merchant of Venice what it is. The people 
are puppets, and the incidents are all in these old stories. 
They are mere bundles of barren sticks that the poet's 
touch causes to bloom like Aaron's rod ; they are heaps 
of dry bones till he clothes them with human flesh and 
breathes into them the breath of life. Antonio ', grave, 
pensive, prudent save in his devotion to his young kins- 
man, as a Christian hating the Jew, as a royal merchant 
despising the usurer ; Bassanio, lavish yet provident, a 
generous gentleman although a fortune-seeker, wise 
although a gay gallant, and manly though dependent ; 
Gratiano, who unites the not too common virtues of 
thorough good nature and unselfishness with the some- 
times not unserviceable fault of talking for talk v o sake ; 
Shylock, crafty and cruel, whose revenge is as mean as 
it is fierce and furious, whose abuse never rises to 
invective, and who has yet some dignity of port a? the 
avenger of a nation's wrongs, some claim upon our 
sympathy as a father outraged by his only child ; and 

26 The Merchant of Venice 

Portia, matchless impersonation of that rare woman 
who is gifted even more in intellect than loveliness, 
these, not to notice minor characters no less perfectly 
organized or completely developed after their kind 
these, and the poetry which is their atmosphere, and 
through which they beam upon us, all radiant in its 
golden light, are Shakespeare's only ; and these it is, 
and not the incidents of old and, but for these, forgotten 
tales, that make The Merchant of Venice a priceless and 
imperishable dower to the queenly city that sits en- 
throned upon the sea a dower of romance more 
bewitching than that of her moonlit waters and beauty- 
laden balconies, of adornment more splendid than that 
of her pictured palaces, of human interest more endur- 
ing than that of her blood-stained annals, more touching 
even than the sight of her faded grandeur." 


In As You Like It, Rosalind, bantering the affected 
Jaques on having been in foreign lands and come home 
only to " disable all the benefits of his own country and 
be out of love with his nativity," says, " Look you lisp 
and wear' strange suits, or I will scarce think you have 
swam in a gondola." To have swam in a gondola was 
to Rosalind and to Shakespeare, we may say the 
typical achievement of a traveller ; and it may still be 
so regarded. There is nothing else so novel in all one's 
tourist experiences nothing that so makes one feel 

Introduction 27 

his distance from his native land and all its ways and 

If he comes by rail to Venice he finds the station 
much like that in any other large city. He leaves 
the train, goes with the crowd toward the 'door, steps 
out into the open air and into a new world, or rather 
an old one, though new to him. It is a step from the 
nineteenth century to the fifteenth. It seems for the 
moment like magic. He looks back to see if the rail- 
way station has not vanished into thin air ; and this 
seems actually to have happened, for the handsome 
front of the building might belong to any other structure 
as well. He is in a small square on the bank of the 
Grand Canal, where a whole fleet of gondolas is drawn 
up, waiting for passengers like the hackney carriages 
at one of our railway terminals. He jumps on board 
one of them, gives the name of his hotel to the gondo- 
lier, and is soon afloat on the marine Broadway of 

It is now that, swimming in a gondola, he really feels 
the significance of Rosalind's allusion to it. And he is 
not only in a strange land, but in a long-past age. 
From the railway train to the gondola is from our land 
to Venice, and from our day to Shakespeare's. There 
is something in the noiseless, gliding motion of the 
craft, especially in this sudden transition to it from 
the clatter and jar and rush of the train, which adds 
indescribably to the dreamy, delusive effect. Every- 
thing around him is in keeping with the bewildering 

28 The Merchant of Venice 

enchantment Nothing distinctively modern is to be 
seen on either hand. He has actually been transported 
to an old world of history, poetry, and romance, of 
which hitherto he has had only a vague idea. Soon 
the gondola turns out of the Grand Canal into one of 
the narrow canals that afford a short cut across its 
immense curves, and he is in a stream only a few yards 
wide, hemmed in by lofty time-worn walls one of the 
watery back alleys of the old city; but he emerges 
upon the Grand Canal again near the Rialto Bridge. 
The gondolier points it out, but it was not necessary ; 
he could not possibly mistake it. Near the end of the 
canal he reaches his hotel, fronting upon it. It is an 
old palace three or four hundred years old but for 
the most part so remodeled within that one could not 
distinguish it from any modern hotel ; and our tourist 
is back into the twentieth century again as the elevator 
takes him to his room. 

This may seem a long introduction, and rather in- 
tended to air my memories of travel, in the manner of 
our friend Jaques, than to lead up to my subject. I 
have dwelt upon it as illustrating our entrance upon the 
study of Shakespeare. In coming to Venice, I have 
said, we enter upon an old world of history, poetry ? 
and romance ; and to such a world of poetry and 
romance and history does Shakespeare introduce us 
a world full of life and action, crowded with per- 
sonages real and unreal, yet the latter none the less 
real because they were born of the poet's brain a 

Introduction 29 

world with its England and France, its Greece and 
Italy, its London, Paris, Rome, and Venice, where we 
may travel at will without stirring from our home fire- 
side, and see and learn quite as much as some do who 
have actually swam in a gondola. 

I cannot but envy those to whom this Shakespearian 
world is as yet a new and unknown world, to which 
they come, as I did to Venice, at sunset of a lovely 
April day, floating in a gondola on the Grand Canal 
for the first time. They may return to it again and 
again, as to Venice, and in some respects with in- 
creased enjoyment; but there is something in the fas- 
cination of that first experience which can never be 

England and Italy are preeminently the countries of 
Shakespeare's plays. The scenes of fourteen of them 
(including the historical plays) are laid wholly or partly 
in England, and of eleven (including the Roman plays), 
wholly or partly in Italy. I count The Tempest among 
the latter because the characters are Italian, though the 
scene is an island not put down in any prosaic manual 
of geography. The other plays, twelve in number, are 
scattered through various lands, Greece, Illyria, Bohe- 
mia, France, Sicily (not a part of Italy in Shakespeare's 
day), Denmark, etc. 

Some of these are mere names. The Illyria of 
Twelfth Night and the Bohemia and Sicily of The 
Winter's Tale, for instance, might be anywhere else. 
In the Elizabethan age the theatres had no painted 

30 The Merchant of Venice 

scenery, and a sign or placard was often put up at 
the back of the stage to indicate the locality, Athens, 
Rome, Venice, or whatever it might be. The sign was 
the only aid to the spectator's imagination, which had 
to furnish a local habitation for the name as best it 
could. And so with the Messina of Much Ado, the 
Vienna of Measure for Measure, the Ephesus of The, 
Comedy of Errors, and the like. They are nothing 
more than names stuck up on a stage without scenery. 
Transpose these names from one play to another, and 
it would make no difference except in the measure of 
a few lines in which they occur. 

But the Italian scenes are veritably Italian. In The 
Two Gentlemen of Verona, indeed, this local tone is not 
so marked, and the poet is guilty of the blunder of 
sending a ship from Verona to Milan ; 1 but that is 
one of the earliest plays of Shakespeare, and it is evi- 
dent that he was not then so familiar with Italy as 
when he wrote the later plays of which that country 
is the scene. 

And here the question arises, Did the poet visit 
Italy ? Did he ever swim in a gondola ? It is not 
impossible though it seems to me, on the whole, im- 
probable that he may have done so. There are sev- 
eral years of his life after he went to London about 

1 It is said that there was a canal between the two cities when 
Shakespeare wrote; but the allusions to the tide and to the danger 
of shipwreck (i. I. 117, ii. 3. 36) prove that he had in mind a voyage 
by sea. 

Introduction 31 

which we know absolutely nothing, and where he was 
and what he was doing can be only matter of con- 
jecture. Critics who have been in Italy, and some 
who have long resided there, find it difficult to explain 
his minute acquaintance with the manners of the coun- 
try except on the theory that he had visited it. It 
may be said that he got this knowledge from friends 
who had traveled, as some of his fellow-actors are 
known to have done ; but, on the other hand, it is 
urged that such second-hand information could hardly 
have made him so perfectly at home in Italy that he 
never falls into any mistakes, even in those little mat- 
ters which are rarely noted in books of travel or talked 
about by tourists. 

In The Merchant of Venice, for instance (ii. 2), Old 
Gobbo brings .a present of a " dish of doves " for 
Launcelot's master. " Where," asks Mr. Charles A. 
Brown (Shakespeare's Autobiographical Poems, 1858), 
" did the poet obtain his numerous graphic touches of 
national manners ? Where did he learn of an old vil- 
lager's coming into the city with a dish of doves as a 
present to his son's master? A present thus given, 
and of doves, is not uncommon in Italy. I myself 
have partaken there, with due relish, in memory of 
poor old Gobbo, of a dish of doves presented by the 
father of a servant." The Taming of the Shrew has 
many of these little Italian touches, and they are to 
be found in other of the Italian plays. 

In The Merchant of Venice the very atmosphere is 

32 The Merchant of Venice 

Italian. In the charming fifth act, which is so refresh- 
ing and restful to our feelings after the almost tragic 
interest of the trial scene, like the calm and repose of 
a beautiful moonlit evening after the exhaustion of an 
anxious and exciting day, Portia says : 

"This night, methinks, is but the daylight sick; 
It looks a little paler : 'tis a day 
Such as the day is when the sun is hid." 

There is no such moonlight in England; but there is 
in Italy as in New England, where we have skies as 
blue and clear as bend over Venice or Florence or 
Naples. To one going from England to Italy the 
difference in the transparency of the atmosphere is 
as striking as that in the climate or the vegetation. 

But, whether Shakespeare was ever in Italy in bodily 
presence, or saw its cities and its people, its skies and 
its moonlight, only with the mind's eye, he takes us to 
the real Italy in his plays, and not to a theatrical cari- 
cature of the country. As some critic has said, the 
merchant of Venice is a merchant of no other city in 
the world ; and it may be added that everything in the 
play is equally Venetian. And yet the strictly topo- 
graphical allusions are only one or two. The Rialto 
is mentioned, but it should be understood that it is 
not the bridge so called, but the merchants' exchange, 
which was on the Rialto, one of the islands on which 
the city was built, and originally its political and com- 
mercial centre. The bridge, one end of which is on 

Introduction 33 

this island (whence it gets its name), was begun in 
1588 and finished in 1591, or several years before the 
earliest date ascribed to the play. The exchange was 
held in the open place in front of the church of San 
Giacomo, a little way from the bridge. No merchants, 
except humble dealers in fruit and vegetables, congre- 
gate there now, and the locality has a thoroughly ple- 
beian character ; but in the olden time it was thronged 
by the Shylocks and Antonios, and their patrons and cus- 
tomers, during the business hours of the day. Thomas 
Coryat, in his Crudities, published in 1611, says : " The 
Rialto, which is at the farthest side of the bridge, as 
you come from St. Marks, is a most stately building, 
being the Exchange of Venice, where the Venetian gen- 
tlemen and the merchants doe meete twice a day, betwixt 
eleven and twelve of the clocke in the morning, and 
betwixt five and sixe of the clocke in the afternoone. 
This Rialto is of a goodly height, . . . adorned with 
many faire walkes or open galleries, . . . and hath a 
pretty quadrangular court adjoining to it." Fynes Mory- 
son, in his Ten Yeares Travell (1617), describes it thus : 
" The foure square market-place of Rialto is compassed 
with publike houses, under the arches whereof, and in 
the middle part lying open, the merchants meet." Archi- 
tecturally it remains the same to-day, an open square 
surrounded by the arcaded buildings (like St. Mark's 
Place, on a smaller scale) erected in the early part of 
the sixteenth century. Near one corner of the square 
>s a short column of Egyptian granite, supported by a 


34 The Merchant of Venice 

kneeling hunchback (" II Gobbo di Rialto," also of the 
sixteenth century), from which the laws of the Republic 
were promulgated. 

Perhaps the only other local allusion in the play, 
aside from the mention of gondolas, is that to " the 
common ferry that trades to Venice," which recognizes 
the insular position of the city, connected with the main- 
land only by ferries, as it continued to be until the 
building of the railway bridge in 1845. But we feel 
that we are in Venice all the time Venice in the old 
days of its power and wealth, when the argosies of the 
world thronged its port, and, as Antonio says, " the 
trade and profit of the city consisted of all nations." 
It is no absurdity that suitors, not only from all parts 
of Italy, but from France, England, Scotland, Germany, 
Spain, and Morocco, are made to come as rivals for the 
hand of Portia, so many Jasons in quest of the golden 
fleece at Belmont. 

The mention of the ferry to Venice indicates that 
Shakespeare supposed Belmont to be on the mainland, 
though he probably had no definite locality in mind. 
We may imagine it to have been in the country west- 
ward of Venice, where there were then, as now, many 
villas of the Venetian nobility. This is on the direct 
road to Padua, about halfway between that city and 
Venice, which is twenty-two miles from Padua by the 
present railway, or twenty-six by steam tramway to 
Fusina and steamer from there (probably the termi- 
nus of the ancient ferry) to Venice. 






THE PRINCE OF ARRAGON, f smtors to Portia - 

ANTONIO, the Merchant of Venice. 

BASSANIO, his friend. 


SALARINO, > friends to Antonio and Bassanio. 


LORENZO, in love with Jessica. 

SHYLOCK, a Jew. 

TUBAL, a Jew, his friend. 


OLD GOBBO, father to tauncelot. 

SALERIO, a messenger. 

LEONARDO, servant to Bassanio. 

PORTIA, a rich heiress. 
NERISSA, her waiting-maid. 
JESSICA, daughter to Shy lock. 

Magnificoes of Venice, Officers of the Court of Jus- 
tice, Gaoler, Servants, and other Attendants. 

SCENE : Partly at Venice, and partly at Belmont. 



SCENE I. Venice. A Street 


Antonio. In sooth, I know not why I am so sad. 
It wearies me, you say it wearies you ; 
But how I caught it, found it, or came by it, 
What stuff 't is made of, whereof it is born, 
I am to learn ; 

And such a want-wit sadness makes of me 
That I have much ado to know myself. 

Salarino. Your mind is tossing on the ocean; 
There where your argosies with portly sail, 
Like signiors and rich burghers on the flood, 


38 The Merchant of Venice [Acti 

Or, as it were, the pageants of the sea, 
Do overpeer the petty traffickers, 
That curtsy to them, do them reverence, 
As they fly by them with their woven wings. 

Salanio. Believe me, sir, had I such venture forth, 
The better part of my affections would 
Be with my hopes abroad. I should be still 
Plucking the grass, to know where sits the wind, 
Peering in maps for ports and piers and roads; 
And every object that might make me fear 20 

Misfortune to my ventures, out of doubt, 
Would make me sad. 

Salarino. My wind, cooling my broth, 

Would blow me to an ague when I thought 
What harm a wind too great might do at sea. 
I should not see the sandy hourglass run 
But I should think of shallows and of flats, 
And see my wealthy Andrew dock'd in sand, 
Vailing her high-top lower than her ribs, 
To kiss her burial. Should I go to church 
And see the holy edifice of stone, 30 

And not bethink me straight of dangerous rocks, 
Which, touching but my gentle vessel's side, 
Would scatter all her spices on the stream, 
Enrobe the roaring waters with my silks, 
And, in a word, but even now worth this, 
And now worth nothing? Shall I have the thought 
To think on this, and shall I lack the thought 
That such a thing bechanc'd would make me sad? 

Scene I] The Merchant of Venice 39 

But tell not me ; I know Antonio 

Is sad to think upon his merchandise. 40 

Antonio. Believe me, no. I thank my fortune for it, 
My ventures are not in one bottom trusted, 
Nor to one place ; nor is my whole estate 
Upon the fortune of this present year. 
Therefore my merchandise makes me not sad. 

Salarino. Why, then you are in love. 

Antonio. Fie, fie ! 

Salarino. Not in love neither? Then let us say 

you 're sad 

Because you are not merry ; and 't were as easy 
For you to laugh and leap, and say you 're merry 
Because you are not sad. Now, by two-headed Janus, 
Nature hath fram'd strange fellows in her time : 51 

Some that will evermore peep through their eyes 
And laugh, like parrots, at a bag-piper ; 
And other of such vinegar aspect 
That they '11 not show their teeth in way of smile, 
Though Nestor swear the jest be laughable. 


Salanio. Here comes Bassanio, your most noble 


Gratiano, and Lorenzo. Fare ye well ; 
We leave you now with better company. 

Salarino. I would have stay'd till I had made you 
merry > 60 

If worthier friends had not prevented me. 

4<D The Merchant of Venice [Act I 

Antonio. Your worth is very dear in my regard. 
I take it, your own business calls on you, 
And you embrace the occasion to depart. 

Salarino. Good morrow, my good lords. 

Bassanio. Good signiors both, when shall we laugh ? 

Say, when ? 
You grow exceeding strange ; must it be so? 

Salarino. We '11. make our leisures to attend on yours. 
\Exeunt Salarino and Salanio. 

Lorenzo. My Lord Bassanio, since you Ve found 


We two will leave you ; but at dinner-time, jo 

I pray you, have in mind where we must meet. 

Bassanio. I will not fail you. 

Gratiano. You look not well, Signior Antonio. 
You have too much respect upon the world ; 
They lose it that do buy it with much care. 
Believe me, you are marvellously chang'd. 

Antonio. I hold the world but as the world, Gratiano, 
A stage where every man must play a part, 
And mine a sad one. 

Gratiano. Let me play the fool ; 

With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come, 80 

And let my liver rather heat with wine 
Than my heart cool with mortifying groans. 
Why should a man whose blood is warm within 
Sit like his grandsire cut in alabaster ? 
Sleep when he wakes, and creep into the jaundice 
By being peevish ? I tell thee what, Antonio, 

Scene I] The Merchant of Venice 41 

I love thee, and it is my love that speaks, 

There are a sort of men whose visages 

Do cream and mantle like a standing pond, 

And do a wilful stillness entertain, 90 

With purpose to be dress'd in an opinion 

Of wisdom, gravity, profound conceit ; 

As who should say, ' I am Sir Oracle, 

And when I ope my lips let no dog bark ! ' 

my Antonio, I do know of these 
That therefore only are reputed wise 

For saying nothing ; when, I am very sure, 

If they should speak, would almost damn those ears 

Which, hearing them, would call their brothers fools. 

I'll tell thee more of this another time ; 100 

But fish not, with this melancholy bait, 

For this fool gudgeon, this opinion. 

Come, good Lorenzo. Fare ye well awhile ; 

I'll end my exhortation after dinner. 

Lorenzo. Well, we will leave you then till dinner-time. 

1 must be one of these same dumb wise men, 
For Gratiano never lets me speak. 

Gratiano. Well, keep me company but two years moe, 
Thou shalt not know the sound of thine own tongue. 
Antonio. Farewell ; I'll grow a talker for this gear. 
Gratiano. Thanks, i' faith ; for silence is only com- 
mendable in 
In a neat's tongue dried. 

\Exeunt Gratiano and Lorenzo. 
Antonio. Is that any thing now ? 

42 The Merchant of Venice [Act I 

Bassanio. Gratiano speaks an infinite deal of nothing, 
more than any man in all Venice. His reasons are as 
two grains of wheat hid in two bushels of chaff ; you 
shall seek all day ere you find them, and when you have 
them they are not worth the search. 

Antonio. Well, tell me now, what lady is the same 
To whom you swore a secret pilgrimage, 120 

That you to-day promis'd to tell me of? 

Bassanio. J T is not unknown to you, Antonio, 
How much I have disabled mine estate, 
By something showing a more swelling port 
Than my faint means would grant continuance ; 
Nor do I now make moan to be abridg'd 
From such a noble rate, but my chief care 
Is to come fairly off from the great debts 
Wherein my time, something too prodigal, 
Hath left me gag'd. To you, Antonio, 130 

I owe the most, in money and in love ; 
And from your love I have a warranty 
To unburthen all my plots and purposes, 
How to get clear of all the debts I owe. 

Antonio. I pray you, good Bassanio, let me know it ; 
And if it stand, as you yourself still do, 
Within the eye of honour, be assur'd, 
My purse, my person, my extremest means, 
Lie all unlocked to your occasions. 

Bassanio. In my school days, when I had lost one 
shaft, 140 

I shot his fellow of the selfsame flight 

Scene I] The Merchant of Venice 43 

The selfsame way, with more advised watch, 

To find the other forth ; and by adventuring both 

I oft found both. I urge this childhood proof 

Because what follows is pure innocence. 

I owe you much, and, like a wilful youth, 

That which I owe is lost ; but if you please 

To shoot another arrow that self way 

Which you did shoot the first, I do not doubt, 

As I will watch the aim, or to find both 150 

Or bring your latter hazard back again, 

And thankfully rest debtor for the first. 

Antonio. You know me well, and herein spend but time 
To wind about my love with circumstance ; * 
And, out of doubt, you do me now more wrong 
In making question of my uttermost 
Than if you had made waste of all I have. 
Then do but say to me what I should do, 
That in your knowledge may by me be done, 
And I am prest unto it ; therefore speak. 160 

Bassanio. In Belmont is a lady richly left ; 
* And she is fair and, fairer than that word, 
Of wondrous virtues. Sometimes from her eyes 
I did receive fair speechless messages. 
Her name is Portia, nothing undervalued 
To Cato's daughter, Brutus' Portia. 
Nor is the wide world ignorant of her worth, 
For the four winds blow in from every coast 
Renowned suitors ; and her sunny locks 
Hang on her temples like a golden fleece, 170 

44 The Merchant of Venice [Act I 

Which makes her seat of Belmont Colchos' strand, 
And many Jasons come in quest of her. 

my Antonio, had I but the means 
To hold a rival place with one of them, 

1 have a mind presages me such thrift 
That I should questionless be fortunate. 

Antonio. Thou know'st that all my fortunes are at sea ; 
Neither have I money nor commodity 
To raise a present sum. Therefore go forth ; 
Try what my credit can in Venice do. 180 

That shall be rack'd, even to the uttermost, 
To furnish thee to Belmont, to fair Portia. 
Go, presently inquire, and so will I, 
Where money is, and I no question make 
To have it of my trust or for my sake. \_Exeunt. 

SCENE II. Belmont. A Room in Portia's House 

Portia. By my troth, Nerissa, my little body is 
aweary of this great world. 

Nerissa. You would be, sweet madam, if your 
miseries were in the same abundance as your good 
fortunes are ; and yet, for aught I see, they are as sick 
that surfeit with too much as they that starve with 
nothing. It is no mean happiness, therefore, to be 
seated in the mean ; superfluity comes sooner by 
white hairs, but competency lives longer. 

Portia. Good sentences, and well pronounced. 10 

Scene HJ The Merchant of Venice 45 

Nerissa. They would be better if well followed. 

Portia. If to do were as easy as to know what were 
good to do, chapels had been churches, and poor men's 
cottages princes' palaces. It is a good divine that fol- 
lows his own instructions ; I can easier teach twenty 
what were good to be done than be one of the twenty 
to follow mine own teaching. The brain may devise 
laws for the blood, but a hot temper leaps o'er a cold 
decree ; such a hare is madness, the youth, to skip 
o'er the meshes of good counsel, the cripple. But 20 
this reasoning is not in the fashion to choose me a 
husband." O me, the word ' choose ! ' I may neither 
choose whom I would, nor refuse whom I dislike ; so 
is the will of a living daughter curbed by the will of 
a dead father. Is it not hard, Nerissa, that I cannot 
choose one, nor refuse none? 

Nerissa. Your father was ever virtuous, and holy 
men at their death have good inspirations ; therefore 
the lottery that he hath devised in these three chests 
of gold, silver, and lead whereof who chooses his 30 
meaning chooses you will, no doubt, never be 
chosen by any rightly but one who you shall rightly 
love. But what warmth is there in your affection 
towards any of these princely suitors that are already 

Portia. I pray thee, over-name them, and as thou 
namest them I will describe them; and, according 
to my description, level at my affection. 
. Nerissa. First, there is the Neapolitan prince. 

46 The Merchant of Venice [Act I 

Portia. Ay, that 's a colt indeed, for he doth 40 
nothing but talk of his horse ; and he makes it a 
great appropriation to his own good parts that he can 
shoe him himself. 

Nerissa. Then is there the County Palatine. 

Portia. He doth nothing but frown, as who should 
say, ' An you will not have me, choose.' He hears 
merry tales, and smiles not ; I fear he will prove the 
weeping philosopher when he grows old, being so 
full of unmannerly sadness in his youth. I had 
rather to be married to a death's-head with a bone 5 
in his mouth than to either oi these. God defend 
me from these two ! 

Nerissa. How say you by the French lord, Mon- 
sieur Le Bon ? 

Portia. God made him, and therefore let him pass 
for a man. In truth, I know it is a sin to be a 
mocker ; but he ! why, he hath a horse better than 
the Neapolitan's, a better bad habit of frowning thap 
the Count Palatine. He is every man in no man ; 
if a throstle sing, he falls straight a-capering; he 60 
will fence with his own shadow. If I should marry 
him, I should marry twenty husbands. If he would 
despise me, I would forgive him ; for if he love me 
to madness, I shall never requite him. 

Nerissa. What say you then to Falconbridge, the 
young baron of England ? 

Portia. You know I say nothing to him, for he 
understands not me, nor I him; he hath neither 

Scene II] The Merchant of Venice 47 

Latin, French, nor Italian, and you will come into 
the court and swear that I have a poor pennyworth 7 
in the English. He is a proper man's picture ; but, 
alas ! who can converse with a dumb show ? How 
oddly he is suited ! I think he bought his doublet 
in Italy, his round hose in France, his bonnet in 
Germany, and his behaviour every where. 

Nerissa. What think you of the Scottish lord, his 
neighbour ? 

Portia. That he hath a neighbourly charity in 
him ; for he borrowed a box of the ear of the English- 
man, and swore he would pay him again when he 80 
was able. I think the Frenchman became his surety 
and sealed under for another. 

Nerissa. How like you the young German, the 
Duke of Saxony's nephew ? 

Portia. Very vilely in the morning when he is 
sober, and most vilely in the afternoon when he 
is drunk. When he is best, he is a little worse than 
a man ; and when he is worst, he is little better than 
a beast. An the worst fall that ever fell, I hope I 
shall make shift to go without him. 90 

Nerissa. If he should offer to choose, and choose 
the right casket, you should refuse to perform your 
father's will if you should refuse to accept him. 

Portia. Therefore, for fear of the worst, I pray 
thee, set a deep glass of Rhenish wine on the con- 
trary casket; for if the devil be within and ttiat 
temptation without, I know he will choose it. I will 

48 The Merchant of Venice [Act 1 

do any thing, Nerissa, ere I will be married to a 

Nerissa. You need not fear, lady, the having any 100 
of these lords. They have acquainted me with their 
determinations ; which is, indeed, to return to their 
home, and to trouble you with no more suit, unless 
you may be won by some other sort than your father's 
imposition depending on the caskets. 

Portia. If I live to be as old as Sibylla, I will die 
as chaste as Diana, unless I be obtained by the 
manner of my father's will. I am glad this parcel 
of wooers are so reasonable, for there is, not one 
among them but I dote on his very absence ; and no 
I wish them a fair departure. 

Nerissa. Do you not remember, lady, in your 
father's time, a Venetian, a scholar and a soldier, 
that came hither in company of the Marquis of Mont- 
ferrat ? 

Portia. Yes, yes, it was Bassanio ; as I think, so 
was he called. 

Nerissa. True, madam ; he, of all the men that 
ever my foolish eyes looked upon, was the best 
deserving a fair lady. 120 

Portia. I remember him well, and I remember 
him worthy of thy praise. 

Enter a Servant 

Servant. The four strangers seek for you, madam, 
to take their leave ; and there is a forerunner come 

Scene ill] The Merchant of Venice 49 

from a fifth, the Prince of Morocco, who brings word 
the prince his master will be here to-night. 

Portia. 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 con- 
dition of a saint and the complexion of a devil, I had 1 3 
rather he should shrive me than wive me. 
Come, Nerissa. Sirrah, go before. 
Whiles we shut the gates upon one wooer, another 
knocks at the door. \Exeunt. 

SCENE III. Venice. A Public Place 

Shylock. Three thousand ducats, well. 

Bassanio. Ay, sir, for three months. 

Shylock. For three months, well. 

Bassanio. For the which, as I told you, Antonio 
shall be bound. 

Shylock. Antonio shall become bound, well. 

Bassanio. May you stead me ? Will you pleasure 
me ? Shall I know your answer ? 

Shylock. Three thousand ducats for three months, 
and Antonio bound. 10 

Bassanio. Your answer to that. 

Shylock. Antonio is a good man. 

Bassanio. Have you heard any imputation to the 
contrary ? 

Shylock. Ho, no, no, no, no ; my meaning, in say- 


50 The Merchant of Venice [Act I 

ing he is a good man, is to have you understand me 
that he is sufficient. Yet his means are in supposi- 
tion : 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 Eng- 20 
land, and other ventures he hath, squandered abroad. 
But ships are but boards, sailors but men : there 
be land-rats and water-rats, land-thieves and water- 
thieves, I mean pirates; and then there is the 
peril of waters, winds, and rocks. The man is, not- 
withstanding, sufficient. Three thousand ducats, 
I think I may take his bond. 

Bassanio. Be assured you may. 

Shylock. I will be assured I may ; and that I may 
be assured I will bethink me. May I speak with 3* 
Antonio ? 

Bassanio. If it please you to dine with us. 

Shylock. Yes, to smell pork ; to eat of the habita- 
tion which your prophet, the Nazarite, conjured the 
devil into. 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 



Bassanio. This is Signior Antonio. 40 

Shylock. \Aside\ How like a fawning publican he 

looks 1 
I hate him for he is a Christian, 

Scene in] The Merchant of Venice . 51 

But more for that, in low simplicity, 

He lends out money gratis and brings down 

The rate of usance here with us in Venice. 

If I can catch him once upon the hip, 

I will feed fat the ancient grudge I bear him. 

He hates our sacred natipn ; and he rails, 

Even there where merchants most do congregate, 

On me, my bargains, and my well-won thrift, 50 

Which he calls interest. Cursed be my tribe 

If I forgive him 1 

Bassanio. Shylock, do you hear ? 

Shylock. I am debating of my present store ; 
And, by the near guess of my memory, 
I cannot instantly raise up the gross 
Of full three thousand ducats. What of that? 
Tubal, a wealthy Hebrew of my tribe, 
Will furnish me. But soft ! how many months 
Do you desire? \To Antonio] Rest you fair, good 

signior ; 
Your worship was the last man in our mouths. 6n 

Antonio. Shylock, albeit I neither lend nor borrow 
By taking nor by giving of excess, 
Yet, to supply the ripe Wants of my friend, 
I '11 break a custom. Is he yet possess'd 
How much you would ? 

Shylock. Ay, ay, three thousand ducats. 

Antonio. And for three months. 

Shylock. I had forgot, three months ; you told me so. 
Well then, your bond ; and let me see but hear you : 

52 The Merchant of Venice [Act i 

Methought you said you neither lend nor borrow 
Upon advantage. 

Antonio. I do never use it. 70 

Shylock. When Jacob graz'd his uncle Laban's 


This Jacob from our holy Abram was, 
As his wise mother wrought in his behalf, 
The third possessor ; ay, he was the third 

Antonio. And what of him ? did he take interest ? 

Shylock. No, not take interest, not, as you would say, 
Directly interest ; mark what Jacob did. 
When Laban and himself were compromis'd 
That all the eanlings which were streak'd and pied 
Should fall as Jacob's hire, So 

The skilful shepherd pill'd me certain wands 
And stuck them up before the fulsome ewes, 
Who, then conceiving, did in eaning time 
Fall parti-colour 'd lambs ; and those were Jacob's. 
This was a way to thrive, and he was blest ; 
And thrift is blessing, if men steal it not. 

Antonio. This was a venture, sir, that Jacob served for ; 
A thing- not in his power to bring to pass, 
But sway'd and fashion 'd by v the hand of heaven. 
Was this inserted to make interest good ? 90 

Or is your gold and silver ewes and rams ? 

Shy lock. I cannot tell ; I make it breed as fast. 
But note me, signior. 

Antonio. Mark you this, Bassanio, 

The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose. 

Scene III] The Merchant of Venice 53 

An evil soul, producing holy witness, 
Is like a villain with a smiling cheek, 
A goodly apple rotten at the heart. 
O, what a goodly outside falsehood hath I 

Shylock. Three thousand ducats, 't is a good round 

sum. 99 

Three months from twelve, then, let me see the rate. 

Antonio. Well, Shylock, shall we be beholding to you? 

Shy lock. Signior Antonio, many a time and oft, 
In the Rialto, you have rated me 
About my moneys and my usances ; 
Still have I borne it with a patient shrug, 
For sufferance is the badge of all our tribe. 
You call me misbeliever, cut-throat dog, 
And spet upon my Jewish gaberdine, 
And all for use of that which js mine own. 
Well then, it now appears you need my help. no 

Go to, then ; you come to me, and you say, 

* Shylock, we would have moneys.' You say so, 
You, that did void your rheum upon my beard, 
And foot me as you spurn a stranger cur 

Over your threshold ; moneys is your suit. 

What should I say to you ? Should I not say, 

1 Hath a dog money ? Is it possible 

A cur should lend three thousand ducats ? ' Or 

Shall I bend low, and in a bondman's key, 

With bated breath and whispering humbleness, 120 

Say this : 

* Fair sir, you spet on me on Wednesday last ; 

54 The Merchant of Venice [Act i 

You spurn'd me such a day ; another time 
You -call'd me dog ; and for these courtesies 
I '11 lend you thus much moneys ? ' 

Antonio. I am as like to call thee so again, 
To spet on thee again, to spurn thee too. 
If thou wilt lend this money, lend it not 
As to thy friends ; for when did friendship take 
A breed of barren metal of his friend ? 130 

But lend it rather to thine enemy, 
Who if he break, thou mayst with better face 
Exact the penalty. 

Shy lock. Why, look you, how you storm I 

I would be friends with you, and have your love, 
Forget the shames that you have stain 'd me with, 
Supply your present wants, and take no dou 
Of usance for my moneys, and you '11 not hear me. 
This is kind I offer. 

Bassanio. This were kindness. 

Shylock. This kindness will I show. 

Go with me to a notary ; seal me there 140 

Your single bond ; and, in a merry sport, 
If you repay me not on such a day, 
In such a place, such sum or sums as are 
Express 'd in the condition, let the forfeit 
Be nominated for an equal pound 
Of your fair flesh, to be cut off and taken 
In what part of your body pleaseth me. 

Antonio. Content, i' faith ; I '11 seal to srch a bond, 
And say there 's much kindness in the JVw 149 

Scene ill] The Merchant of Venice 55 

Bassanio. You shall not seal to such a bond for me ; 
I '11 rather dwell in my necessity. 

Antonio. Why, fear not, man ; I will not forfeit it. 
Within these two months - that 's a month before 
This bond expires I do expect return 
Of thrice three times the value of this bond. 

Shylock. O father Abram ! what these Christians are 
Whose own hard dealings teaches them suspect 
The thoughts of others ! Pray you, tell me this : 
If he should break his day, what should I gain 
By the exaction of the forfeiture ? 160 

A pound of man's flesh, taken from a man, 
Is not so estimable, profitable neither, 
As flesh of muttons, beefs, or goats. I say, 
To buy his favour I extend this friendship. 
If he will take it, so ; if not, adieu ; 
And, for my love, I pray you wrong me not. 

Antonio. Yes, Shylock, I will seal unto this bond. 

Shylock. Then meet me forthwith at the notary's. 
Give him direction for this merry bond, 
And I will go and purse the ducats straight, 170 

See to my house, left in the fearful guard 
Of an unthrifty knave, and presently 
I will be with you. [Exit. 

Antonio. Hie thee, gentle Jew. 

The Hebrew will turn Christian ; he grows kind. 

Bassanio. I like not fair terms and a villain's mind. 

Antonio. Come on : in this there can be no dismay ; 
My ships come home a month before the day. [Exeunt. 



SCENE I. Belmont. A Room in Portia's House 

Flourish of Cornets. Enter the PRINCE OF MOROCCO 
and his train ; PORTIA, NERISSA, and others 

Morocco. Mislike me not for my complexion, 
The shadow'd livery of the burnish'd sun, 
To whom I am a neighbour and near bred. 
Bring me the fairest creature northward born, 
Where Phoebus' fire scarce thaws the icicles, 
And let us make incision for your love, 
To prove whose blood is reddest, his or mine. 
I tell thee, lady, this aspect of mine 
Hath fear'd the valiant ; by my love, I swear 
The best-regarded virgins of our clime IQ 


Scene I] The Merchant of Venice 57 

Have lov'd it too. I would not change this hue, 
Except to steal your thoughts, my gentle queen. 

Portia. In terms of choice I am not solely led 
By nice direction of a maiden's eyes ; 
Besides) the lottery of my destiny 
Bars me the right of voluntary choosing ; 
But if my father had not scanted me, 
And hedg'd me by his wit, to yield myself 
His wife who wins me by that means I told you, 
Yourself, renowned prince, then stood as fair 20 

As any comer I have look'd on yet, 
For my affection. 

Morocco. Even for that I thank you ; 

Therefore, I pray you, lead me to the caskets 
To try my fortune. By ;this scimitar, 
That slew the Sophy and a Persian prince 
That won three fields of Sultan Solyman, 
I would o'er-stare the sternest eyes that look, 
Outbrave the heart most daring on the earth, 
Pluck the young sucking cubs from the she-bear, 
Yea, mock the lion when he roars for prey, 3c 

To win thee, lady. But, alas the while ! 
If Hercules and Lichas play at dice 
Which is the better man, the greater throw 
May turn by fortune from the weaker hand. 
So is Alcides beaten by his page ; 
And so may I, blind Fortune leading me, 
Miss that which one unworthier may attain, 
And die with grieving. 

58 The Merchant of Venice [Act n 

Portia. You must take your chance, 

And either not attempt to choose at all. 
Or swear, before you choose, if you choose wrong 40 
Never to speak to lady afterward 
In way of marriage ; therefore be advis'd. 

Morocco. Nor will not. Come, bring me unto my 

Portia. First, forward to the temple ; after dinner 
Your hazard shall be made. 

Morocco. Good fortune then, 

To make me blest or cursed 'st among men ! 

[Cornets^ and exeunt. 

SCENE II. Venice. A Street 

Launcelot. Certainly my conscience will serve me 
to run from this Jew my master. The fiend is at mine 
elbow and tempts me, saying to me, ' Gobbo, Launce- 
lot Gobbo, good Launcelot,' or 'good Gobbo,' or 
' good Launcelot Gobbo, use your legs, take the start, 
run away.' My conscience says, ' No ; take heed, 
honest Launcelot; take heed, honest Gobbo,' or, as 
aforesaid, ' honest Launcelot Gobbo ; do not run ; 
scorn running with thy heels.' Well, the most cour- 
ageous fiend bids me pack : ' Via ! ' says the fiend ; 10 
1 away ! ' says the fiend ; l for the heavens, rouse up 
a brave mind,' says the fiend, ' and run.' Well, my 

Scene II] The Merchant of Venice 59 

conscience, hanging about the neck of my heart, 
says very wisely to me, ' My honest friend Launce- 
lot, being an honest man's son,' or rather an 
honest woman's son, well, my conscience says, 
1 Launcelot, budge not,' * Budge,' says the fiend. 
1 Budge not,' says my conscience. ' Conscience,' 
say I, 'you counsel well;' ' Fiend,' say I, 'you 
counsel well.' To be ruled by my conscience, 1 20 
should stay with the Jew my master, who, God bless 
the mark, is a kind of devil ; and, to run away from 
the Jew, I should be ruled by the fiend, who, saving 
your reverence, is the devil himself. Certainly the 
- Jew is the very devil incarnation ; and, in my con- 
science, my conscience is a kind of hard conscience, 
to offer to counsel me to stay with the Jew. The 
fiend gives the more friendly counsel. I will run, 
fiend ; my heels are at your commandment ; I will 

run. 30 

Enter Old GOBBO, with a basket 

Gobbo. Master young man, you ! I pray you, 
which is the way to master Jew's ? 

Launcelot. \Aside~\ O heavens! this is my true- 
begotten father, who, being more than sand-blind, 
' high-gravel-blind, knows me not. I will try con- 
fusions with him. 

Gobbo. Master young gentleman, I pray you, 
which is the way to master Jew's ? 

Launcelot. Turn up on your right hand at the next 
turning, but at the next turning of all, on your left ; 40 

60 The Merchant of Venice [Act n 

marry, at the very next turning, turn of no hand, but 
turn down indirectly to the Jew's house. 

Gobbo. By God's sonties, 't will be a hard way to 
hit. Can you tell me whether one Launcelot, that 
dwells with him, dwell with him or no ? 

Launcelot. Talk you of young Master Launcelot? 

[Aside] Mark me now ; now will I raise the 
waters. [To him] Talk you of young Master 
Launcelot ? 

Gobbo. No master, sir, but a poor man's son ; his 50 
father, though I say 't, is an honest exceeding poor 
man, and, God be thanked, well to live. 

Launeelot. Well, let his father be what a' will, we 
talk of young Master Launcelot. 

Gobbo. Your worship's friend and Launcelot. 

Launcelot. But I pray you, ergo, old man, ergo, I 
beseech you, talk you of young Master Launcelot ? 

Gobbo. Of Launcelot, an 't please your mastership. 

Launcelot. Ergo, Master Launcelot. Talk not of 
Master Launcelot, father ; for the young gentleman 60 

according to fates and destinies and such odd 
sayings, the sisters three and such branches of learn- 
ing is indeed deceased, or, as you would say in 
plain terms, gone to heaven. 

Gobbo. Marry, God forbid ! the boy was the very 
staff of my age, my very prop. 

Launcelot. [Aside] Do I look like a cudgel or a 
hovel-post, a staff or a prop ? [To him] Do you know 
me, father? 

Scene II] The Merchant of Venice 61 

Gobbo. Alack the day ! I know you not, young 70 
gentleman; but, I pray you, tell me, is my boy 
God rest his soul ! alive or dead ? 

Launcelot. Do you not know me, father ? 

Gobbo. Alack, sir, I am sand-blind ; I know you 

Launcelot. Nay, indeed, if you had your eyes, you 
might fail of the knowing me ; it is a wise father that 
knows his own child. Well, old man, I will tell you 
news of your son. [Kneels.] Give me your bless- 
ing : truth will come to light ; murther cannot be 80 
hid long; a man's son may, but in the end truth 
will out 

Gobbo. Pray you, sir, stand up. I am sure you 
are not Launcelot, my boy. 

Launcelot. Pray you, let's have no more fooling 
about it, but give me your blessing ; I am Launcelot, 
your boy that was, your son that is, your child that 
shall be. 

Gobbo. I cannot think you are my son. 

Launcelot. I know not what I shall think of that ; 90 
but I am Launcelot, the Jew's man, and I am sure 
Margery your wife is my mother. 

Gobbo. Her name is Margery, indeed; I '11 be 
sworn, if thou be Launcelot, thou art mine own flesh 
and blood. Lord worshipped might he be! what a 
beard hast thou got ! thou hast got more hair on thy 
chin than Dobbin my fill-horse has on his tail. 

Launcelot. It should seem, then, that Dobbin's tail 

62 The Merchant of Venice [Act n 

grows backward ; I am sure he had more hair of his 
tail than I have of my face, when I last saw him. 100 

Gobbo. Lord ! how art thou changed ! How dost 
thou and thy master agree ? I have brought him a 
present. How gree you now ? 

Launcelot. Well, well ; but, for mine own part, as 
I have set up my rest to run away, so I will not rest 
till I have run sonte ground. My master's a very 
Jew ; give him a present ! give him a halter. I am 
famished in his service ; you may tell every finger I 
have with my ribs. Father, I am glad you are come. 
Give me your present to one Master Bassanio, who no 
indeed gives rare new liveries ; if I serve not him, I 
will run as far as God has any ground. O rare 
fortune! here comes the man. To him, father; 
for I am a Jew if I serve the Jew any longer. 

Enter BASSANIO, with LEONARDO and other followers 

Bassanio. You may do so ; but let it be so hasted 
that supper be ready at the farthest by five of the 
clock. See these letters delivered ; put the liveries 
tc making, and desire Gratiano to come anon to 
my lodging. [Exit a Servant. 

Launcelot. To him, father. * 2 o 

Gobbo. God bless your worship ! 

Bassanio. Gramercy ! wouldst thou aught with me ? 

Gobbo. Here's my son, sir, a poor boy, 

Launcelot. Not a poor boy, sir, but the rich Jew's 
man ; that would, sir, as my father shall specify, 

Scene II] The Merchant of Venice 63 

Gobbo. He hath a great infection, sir, as one 
would say, to serve 

Launcelot. Indeed, the short and the long is, I 
serve the Jew, and have a desire, as my father shall 
specify, 130 

Gobbo. His master and he, saving your worship's 
reverence, are scarce cater-cousins 

Launcelot. To be brief, the very truth is, that the 
Jew, having done me wrong, doth cause me, as my 
father, being, I hope, an old man, shall frutify unto 

Gobbo. I have here a dish of doves that I would 
bestow upon your worship; and my suit is 

Launcelot. In very brief, the suit is impertinent v 
to myself, as your worship shall know by this honest 140 
old man ; and, though I say it, though old man, yet, 
poor man, my father. 

Bassanio. One speak for both. What would you ? 

Launcelot. Serve you, sir. 

Gobbo. That is the very defect of the matter, sir. 

Bassanio. I know thee well; thog hast obtain 'd 

thy suit. 

Shylock thy master spoke with me this day, 
And hath preferr'd thee ; if it be preferment 
To leave a rich Jew's service, to become 
The follower of so poor a gentleman. 150 

Launcelot. The old proverb is very well parted 
between my master Shylock and you, sir ; you have 
the grace of God, sir, and he hath enough. 

64 The Merchant of Venice [Act n 

Bassanio. Thou speak'st it well. Go, father, 

with thy son. 

Take leave of thy old master, and inquire 
My lodging out. Give him a livery \To his followers \ 
More guarded than his fellows' ; see it done. 

Launcelot. Father, in. I cannot get a service, no ; 
I have ne'er a tongue in my head. Well, if any 
man in Italy have a fairer table which doth offer 160 
to swear upon a book ! I shall have good fortune. 

Go to, here's a simple line of life 1 here's a small 
trifle of wives : alas ! fifteen wives is nothing ! aleven 
widows and nine maids is a simple coming-in for one 
man ; and then to scape drowning thrice, and to be 
in peril of my life with the edge of a feather-bed, 

here are simple scapes. Well, if Fortune be a 
woman, she 's a good wench for this gear. Father, 
come ; I '11 take my leave of the Jew in the twinkling 
of an eye. [Exeunt Launcelot and Old Gobbo. 

Bassanio. I pray thee, good Leonardo, think on 

this. 171 

These things being bought and orderly bestow'd, 
Return in haste, for I do feast to-night 
My best-esteem 'd acquaintance; hie thee, go. 

Leonardo. My best endeavours shall be done 


Gratiano. Where is your master ? 

Leonardo. Yonder, sir, he walks. \Exit, 

Gratiano. Signior Bassanio I 

Scene ii] The Merchant of Venice 65 

Bassanio. Gratiano I 

Gratiano. I have a suit to you. 

Bassanio. You have obtained it. 

Gratiano. You must not deny me. I must goiSo 
with you to Belmont. 

Bassanio. Why, then you must. But hear thee, 

Gratiano : 

Thou art too wild, too rude, and bold of voice, 
Parts that become thee happily enough 
And in such eyes as ours appear not faults ; 
But where they are not known, why, there they show 
Something too liberal. Pray thee, take pain 
To allay with some cold drops of modesty 
Thy skipping spirit, lest through thy wild behaviour 
I be misconstrued in the place I go to, 190 

And lose my hopes. 

Gratiano. Signior Bassanio, hear me : 

If I do not put on a sober habit, 
Talk with respect, and swear but now and then, 
Wear prayer-books in my pocket, look demurely, 
Nay more, while grace is saying, hood mine eyes 
Thus with my hat, and sigh, and say ' amen/ 
Use all the observance of civility, 
Like one well studied in a sad ostent 
To please his grandam, never trust me more. 

Bassanio. Well, we shall see your bearing. 200 

Gratiano. Nay, but I bar to-night ; you shall not 

gauge me 
By what we do to-night. 


66 The Merchant of Venice [Act n 

Bassanio. No, that were pity ; 

I would entreat you rather to put on 
Your boldest suit of mirth, for we have friends 
That purpose merriment. But fare you well ; 
I have some business. 

Gratiano. And I must to Lorenzo and the rest; 
But we will visit you at supper-time. [Exeunt. 

SCENE III. The Same. A Room in Shyloctfs House 

Jessica. I am sorry thou wilt leave my father so ; 
Our house is hell, and thou, a merry devil, 
Didst rob it of some taste of tediousness. 
But fare thee well ; there is a ducat for thee. 
And, Launcelot, soon at supper shalt thou see 
Lorenzo, who is thy new master's guest. 
Give him this letter ; do it secretly. 
And so farewell ; I would not have my father 
See me in talk with thee. 

Launcelot. Adieu ! tears exhibit my tongue. Most 10 
beautiful pagan, most sweet Jew, adieu ! these fool- 
ish drops do somewhat drown my manly spirit; 
adieu ! 

Jessica. Farewell, good Launcelot. 

[Exit Launcelot. 

Alack, whar heinous sin is it in me 
To be asham'd to be my father's child ! 
But though I am a daughter to his blood, 

Scene IV] The Merchant of Venice 67 

I am not to his manners. O Lorenzo, 

If thou keep promise, I shall end this strife, 

Become a Christian and thy loving wife ! \Exit. 20 

SCENE IV. The Same. A Street 

Lorenzo. Nay, we will slink away in supper-time, 
Disguise us at my lodging, and return, 
All in an hour. 

Gratiano. We have not made good preparation. 
Salarino. We have not spoke us yet of torch- 
Salanio. 'T is vile unless it may be quaintly 

And better, in my mind, not undertook. 

Lorenzo. 'T is now but four o'clock ; we have two 

To furnish us,, 

Enter LAUNCELOT, with a letter 

Friend Launcelot, what 's the news ? 
Launcelot. An it shall please you to break up 10 
this, it shall seem to signify. 

Lorenzo. I know the hand. In faith, \ is a fair 

hand ; 

And whiter than the paper it writ on 
Is the fair hand that writ 

68 The Merchant of Venice [Act II 

Gratiano. Love-news, in faith. 

Launcelot. By your leave, sir. 

Lorenzo. Whither goest thou ? 

Launcelot. Marry, sir, to bid my old master the 
Jew to sup to-night with my new master the Christian. 

Lorenzo. Hold here, take this. Tell gentle Jessica 
I will not fail her ; speak it privately. 20 

Go. Gentlemen, \Exit Launcelot. 

Will you prepare you for this masque to-night ? 
I am provided of a torch-bearer. 

Salarino. Ay, marry, I '11 be gone about it straight 

Salanio. And so will I. 

Lorenzo. Meet me and Gratiano 

At Gratiano 's lodging some hour hence. 

Salarino. 'T is good we do so. 

\Exeunt Salarino and Salanio. 

Gratiano. Was not that letter from fair Jessica ? 

Lorenzo. I must needs tell thee all. She hath 


How I shall take her from her father's house, 30 

What gold and jewels she is furnish 'd with, 
What page's suit she hath in readiness. 
If e'er the Jew her father come to heaven, 
It will be for his gentle daughter's sake ; 
And never dare Misfortune cross her foot, 
Unless she do it under this excuse, 
That she is issue to a faithless Jew. 
Come, go with me ; peruse this as thou goest. 
Fair Jessica shall be my torch-bearer. \Exeunt. 

Scene V] The Merchant of Venice 69 

SCENE V. The Same. Before ShylocVs House 

Sky lock. Well, thou shalt see ; thy eyes shall be 

thy judge, 

The difference of old Shylock and Bassanio. 
What, Jessica ! thou shalt not gormandize, 
As thou hast done with me, what, Jessica ! 
And sleep and snore, and rend apparel out 
Why, Jessica, I say 1 

Launcelot. Why, Jessica ! 

Shylock. Who bids thee call ? I do not bid thee 

Launcelot. Your worship was wont to tell me I 
could do nothing without bidding. 


Jessica. Call you ? what is your will ? 10 

Shylock. I am bid forth to supper. Jessica ; 
There are my keys. But wherefore should I go ? 
I am not bid for love, they flatter me ; 
But yet I '11 go in hate, to feed upon 
The prodigal Christian. Jessica, my girl, 
Look to my house. I am right loath to go ; 
There is some ill a-brewing towards my rest, 
For I did dream of money-bags to-night. 

Launcelot. I beseech you, sir, go ; my young 
master doth expect your reproach. 20 

Shylock. So d*> I his. 

70 The Merchant of Venice [Act II 

Launcelot. And they have conspired together ; 
I will not say you shall see a masque ; but'if you do, 
then it was not for nothing that my nose fell a-bleed- 
ing.on Black-Monday last at six o'clock i' the morn- 
ing, falling out that year on Ash-Wednesday was four 
year in the afternoon. 

Shylock. What ! are there masques ? Hear you 

me, Jessica : 

Lock up my doors ; and when you hear the drum 
And the vile squealing of the wry-neck'd fife, 30 

Clamber not you up to the casements then, 
Nor thrust your head into the public street 
To gaze on Christian fools with varnish 'd faces, 
But stop my house's ears, I mean my casements ; 
Let not the sound of shallow foppery enter 
My sober house. By Jacob's staff, I swear, 
I have no mind of feasting forth to-night ; 
But I will go. Go you before me, sirrah ; 
Say I will come. 

Launcelot. I will go before, sir. Mistress, look ou\ 
at window, for all this : 41 

There will come a Christian by, 
Will be worth a Jewess' eye. [Exit. 

Shylock. What says that fool of Hagar's offspring, har 

Jessica. His words were * Farewell, mistress ; ' noth- 
ing else. 

Shylock. The patch is kind enough, but a huge 

feeder ; 
Snail-slow in profit, and he sleeps by day 

Scene vi] The Merchant of Venice 71 

More than the wild-cat. Drones hive not with me ; 

Therefore I part with him, and part with him 

To one that I would have him help to waste 50 

His borrow'd purse. Well, Jessica, go in ; 

Perhaps I will return immediately. 

Do as I bid you ; shut doors after you. 

Fast bind, fast find ; 

A proverb never stale in thrifty mind. [Exit. 

Jessica. Farewell ; and if my fortune be not crost, 
I have a father, you a daughter, lost. [Exit. 

SCENE VI. The Same 
Enter GRATIANO and SALARINO, masqued 

Gratiano. This is the pent-house under which Lorenzo 
Desir'd us to make stand. 

Salarino. His hour is almost past. 

Gratiano. And it is marvel he outd wells his hour, . 
For lovers ever run before the clock. 

Salarino. O, ten times faster Venus' pigeons fly 
To seal love's bonds new-made than they are wont 
To keep obliged faith unforfeited ! 

Gratiano. That ever holds. Who riseth from a feast 
With that keen appetite that he sits down ? 
Where is the horse that doth untread again 10 

His tedious measures with the unbated fire 
That he did pace them first ? All things that are 
Are with more spirit chased than enjoy'd. 
How like a younger or a prodigal, 

72 The Merchant of Venice [Act n 

The scarfed bark puts from her native bay, 
Hugg'd and embraced by the strumpet wind ! 
How like the prodigal doth she return, 
With over-weather 'd ribs and ragged sails, 
Lean, rent, and beggar'd by the strumpet wind ! 

Salarino. Here comes Lorenzo. More of this 
hereafter. , 2 o 


Lorenzo. Sweet friends, your patience for my long 

abode ; 

Not I, but my affairs, have made you wait. v 
When you shall please to play the thieves for wives, 
I '11 watch as long for you then. Approach ; 
Here dwells my father Jew. Ho ! who 's within ? 

Enter JESSICA, above, in boy's clothes 

Jessica. Who are you ? Tell me, for more certainty, 
Albeit I '11 swear that I do know your tongue. 

'Lorenzo. Lorenzo, and thy love. 

Jessica. Lorenzo, certain ; and my love indeed, 
For who love I so much ? And now who knows 30 
But you, Lorenzo, whether I am yours ? 

Lorenzo. Heaven and thy thoughts are witness that 
thou art. 

Jessica. Here, catch this casket ; it is worth the pains. 
I am glad \ is night, you do not look on me, 
For I am much asham'd of my exchange. 
But love is blind, and lovers cannot see 

Scene vi] The Merchant of Venice 73 

The pretty follies that themselves commit ; 
For if they could, Cupid himself would blush 
To see me thus transformed to a boy. 

Lorenzo. Descend, for you must be my torch- 
bearer. 40 

Jessica. What, must I hold a candle to my shames? 
They in themselves, 'good sooth, are too-too light. 
Why, 't is an office of discovery, love, 
And I should be obscur'd. 

Lorenzo. So are you, sweet, 

Even in the lovely garnish of a boy. 
But come at once ; 

( For the close night doth play the runaway, 
Antt we are stay'd for at Bassanio's feast. 

Jessica. I will make fast the doors, and gild myself 
With some more ducats, and be with you straight. 50 

[Exit above. 

Gratiano. Now, by my hood, a Gentile and no Jew. 

Lorenzo. Beshrew me but I love her heartily 1 
For she is wise, if I can judge of her ; 
And fair she is, if that mine eyes be true ; 
And true she is, as she hath prov'd herself ; 
And therefore, like herself, wise, fair, and true, 
Shall she be placed in my constant soul. 

Enter JESSICA, below 

What, art thou come ? On, gentlemen ; away I 
Our masquing mates by this time for us stay. 

[Exit with Jessica and Salarino* 

74 The Merchant of Venice [Act n 



Antonio. Who 's there ? 60 

Gratiano. Signior Antonio ! 

Antonio. Fie, fie, Gratiano ! where are all the rest? 
'T is nine o'clock ; our friends all stay for you. 
No masque to-night : the wind is come about ; 
Bassanio presently will go aboard. 
I have sent twenty out to seek for you. 

Gratiano. I am glad on 't ; I desire no more delight 
Than to be under sail and gone to-night. [Exeunt. 

SCENE VII. Belmont. ,A- Room in Portia's House 

Flourish of cornets. Enter PORTIA, with the PRINCE OF 
MOROCCO, and their trains 

Portia. Go, draw aside the curtains, and discover 
The several caskets to this noble prince. 
Now make your choice. 

Morocco. The first, of gold, who this inscription bears, 
' Who chooseth me shall gain what many men desire? 
The second, silver, which this promise carries, 

* Who chooseth me shall get as much as he deserves.^ 
This third, dull lead, with warning all as blunt, 

* Who chooseth me must give and hazard all he hath? 
How shall I know if I do choose the right ? 10 

Portia. The one of them contains my picture, prince ; 
If you choose that, then I am yours withal. 

Morocco. Some god direct my judgment ! Let me see ; 

Scene VII] The Merchant of Venice 75 

I will survey the inscriptions back again. 

What says this leaden casket ? 

' Who chooseth me must give and hazard all he hath? 

Must give for what ? For lead ? Hazard for lead ? 

This casket threatens. Men that hazard all 

Do it in hope of fair advantages. 

A golden mind stoops not to shows of dross ; 20 

I '11 then jior give nor hazard aught for lead. 

What says the silver with her virgin hue ? 

' Who chooseth me shall get as much as he deserves? 

As much as he deserves ? Pause there, Morocco, 

And weigh thy value with an even hand. 

If thou be'st rated by thy estimation, 

Thou dost deserve enough ; and yet enough 

May not extend so far as to the lady ; 

And yet to be afeard of my deserving 

Were but a weak disabling of myself. 30 

As much as I deserve ? Why, that 's the lady : 

I do in birth deserve her, and in fortunes, 

In graces and in qualities of breeding ; 

But more than these, in love I do deserve. 

What if I stray'd no further, but chose here ? 

Let 's see once more this saying grav'd in gold : 

' Who chooseth me shall gain what many men desire? 

Why, that 's the lady : all the world desires her ; 

From the four corners of the earth they come, 

To kiss this shrine, this mortal-breathing saint. 40 

The Hyrcanian deserts and the vasty wilds 

Of wide Arabia are as throughfares now 

76 The Merchant of Venice [Act n 

For princes to come view fair Portia. 
The watery kingdom, whose ambitious head 
Spets in the face of heaven, is no bar 
To stop the foreign spirits, but they come, 
As o'er a brook, to see fair Portia. 
One of these three contains her heavenly picture. 
Is 't like that lead contains her ? 'T were damnation 
To think so base a thought ; it were too gross 50 

To rib her cerecloth in the obscure grave. 
Or shall I think in silver she 's immur'd, 
Being ten times undervalued to tried gold ? 
O sinful thought 1 Never so rich a gem 
Was set in worse than gold. They have in England 
A coin that bears the figure of an angel 
Stamped in gold, but that 's insculp'd upon ; 
But here an angel in a golden bed 
Lies all within. Deliver me the key ; 
Here do I choose, and thrive I as I may 1 60 

Portia. There, take it, prince ; and if my form lie 

Then I am yours. \He unlocks the golden casket, 

Morocco. O hell ! what have we here ? 

A carrion death, within whose empty eye 
There is a written scroll ! I '11 read the writing. 

'All that glisters is not gold ; 

Often have you heard that told. 

Many a man his life hath sold. 

But my outside to behold ; 

Gilded tombs do worms infold. 

hcene viii] The Merchant of Venice 77 

Had you been as wise as bold, 70 

Young in limbs, in judgment old. 
Your answer had not been inscrolVd: 
Fare you well ; your suit is cold.' 
Cold, indeed, and labour lost ; 
Then, farewell, heat, and welcome, frost I 
Portia, adieu ! I have too griev'd a heart 
To take a tedious leave ; thus losers part. 

[Exit with his train. 

Portia. A gentle riddance. Draw the curtains ; go. 
Let all of his complexion choose me so. 

[Exeunt. Flourish of cornets. 

SCENE VIII. Venice. A Street 

Salarino. Why, man, I saw Bassanio under sail; 
With him is Gratiano gone along, 
And in their ship I am sure Lorenzo is not. 

Salanio. The villain Jew with outcries rais'd the duke, 
Who went with him to search Bassanio's ship. 

Salarino. He came too late, the ship was under sail ; 
But there the duke was given to understand 
That in a gondola were seen together 
Lorenzo and his amorous Jessica. 
Besides, Antonio certified the duke o 

They were not with Bassanio in his ship. 

Salanio. I never heard a passion so confus'd, 
So strange, outrageous, and so variable, 

7 8 The Merchant of Venice [Act n 

As the dog Jew did utter in the streets : 

' My daughter 1 O my ducats ! O my daughter I 

Fled with a Christian ! O my Christian ducats ! 

Justice ! the law ! my ducats, and my daughter ! 

A sealed bag, two sealed bags of ducats, 

Of double ducats, stolen from me by my daughter ! 

And jewels, two stones, two rich and precious stones, 20 

Stolen by my daughter ! Justice ! find the girl ; 

She hath the stones upon her, and the ducats.' 

Salarino. Why, all the boys in Venice follow him, 
Crying, his stones, his daughter, and his ducats. 

Salanio. Let good Antonio look he keep his day, 
Or he shall pay for this. 

Salarino. Marry, well remember'd. 

I reason 'd with a Frenchman yesterday, 
Who told me, in the narrow seas that part 
The French and English, there miscarried 
A vessel of our country richly fraught. 30 

I thought upon Antonio when he told me, 
And wish'd in silence that it were not his. 

Salanio. You were best to tell Antonio what you hear ; 
Yet do not suddenly, for it may grieve him. 

Salarino. A kinder gentleman treads not the earth, 
I saw Bassanio and Antonio part. 
Bassanio told him he would make some speed 
Of his return ; he answer'd, ' Do not so ; 
Slubber not business for my sake, Bassanio, 
But stay the very riping of the time ; 40 

And for the Jew's bond which he hath of me, 

Scene IX] The Merchant of Venice 79 

Let it not enter in your mind of love. 

Be merry, and employ your chiefest thoughts 

To courtship and such fair ostents of love 

As shall conveniently become you there.' 

And even there, his eye being big with tears, 

Turning his face, he put his hand behind him, . 

And with affection wondrous sensible 

He wrung Bassanio's hand ; and so they parted. 

Salanio. I think he only loves the world for him. 50 
I pray thee, let us go and find him out, 
And quicken his embraced heaviness 
With some delight or other. 

Salarino. Do we so. \Exeunt. 

SCENE IX. Belmont. A Room in Portia's House 
Enter NERISSA with a Servitor 

Nerissa. Quick, quick, I pray thee ; draw the curtain 


The Prince of Arragon hath ta'en his oath, 
And comes to his election presently. 

Flourish of cornets. Enter the PRINCE OF ARRAGON, 
PORTIA, and their trains 

Portia. Behold, there stand the caskets, noble prince. 
If you choose that wherein I am contain 'd, 
Straight shall our nuptial rites be solemniz'd ; 
But if you fail, without more speech, my lord, 
You must be gone from hence immediately. 

8o The Merchant of Venice [Act n 

Arragon. I am enjoin'd by oath to observe three 

things : 

First, never to unfold to any one 10 

Which casket 't was I chose ; next, if I fail - 
Of the right casket, never in my life 
To woo a maid in way of marriage ; 
Lastly, if I do fail in fortune of my choice, 
Immediately to leave you and be gone. 

Portia. To these injunctions every one doth swear 
That comes to hazard for my worthless self. 

Arragon. And so have I address 'd me. Fortune now 
To my heart's hope ! Gold, silver, and base lead. 
1 Who choose th me must give and hazard all he hath.' 1 20 
You shall look fairer ere I give or hazard. 
What says the golden chest ? ha ! let me see : 
' Who chooseth me shall gain what many men desire? 
What many men desire ! that many may be meant 
By the fool multitude that choose by show, 
Not learning more than the fond eye doth teach ; 
Which pries not to the interior, but, like the martlet, 
Builds in the weather, on the outward wall, 
Even in the force and road of casualty. 
I will not choose what many men desire, 30 

Because I will not jump with common spirits 
And rank me with the barbarous multitudes. 
Why, then to thee, thou silver treasure-house ; 
Tell me once more what title thou dost bear : 
' Who chooseth me shall get as much as he deserves : * 
And well said too ; for who shall go about 

Scene IX] The Merchant of Venice 81 

To cozen fortune and be honourable 

Without the stamp pf merit ? Let none presume 

To wear an undeserved dignity. 

O, that estates, degrees, and offices 4* 

Were not deriv'd corruptly, and that clear honour 

Were purchased by the merit of the wearer ! 

How many then should cover that stand bare 1 

How many be commanded that command ! 

How much low peasantry would then be glean 'd 

From the true seed of honour ; and how much honour 

Pick'd from the chaff and ruin of the times, 

To be new- varnish 'd ! Well, but to my choice : 

' Who chooseth me shall get as much as he deserves? 

I will assume desert. Give me a key for this, 50 

And instantly unlock my fortunes here. 

\He opens the silver casket. 

Portia. Too long a pause for that which you find 

Arragon. What's here ? the portrait of a blinking 


Presenting me a schedule ! I will read it. 
How much unlike art thou to Portia ! 
How much unlike my hopes and my deservings ! 
' Who chooseth me shall have as much as he deserves? 
Did I deserve no more than a fool's head ? 
Is that my prize ? are my deserts no better ? 

Portia. To offend and judge are distinct offices, 60 
And of opposed natures. 

Arragon. What is here ? 


82 The Merchant of Venice [Act II 

* The fire seven times tried this ; 
Seven times tried that judgment is. 
That did never choose amiss. 
Some there be that shadows kiss ; 
Such have but a shadow V bliss. 
There be fools alive , I wis^ 
Silver* d o' er ; and so was this. 
Take what wife you will to bed, 
I will ever be your head. 70 

So be gone ; you are sped? 
Still more fool I shall appear 
By the time I linger here ; 
With one fool's head I came to woo, 
But I go away with two. 
Sweet, adieu ! I '11 keep my oath, 
Patiently to bear my wroth. 

\Exeunt Arragon and train. 
Portia. Thus hath the candle sing'd the moth. 
O, these deliberate fools 1 when they do choose, 
They have the wisdom by their wit to lose. 80 

Nerissa. The ancient saying is no heresy, 
Hanging and wiving goes by destiny. 

Portia. Come, draw the curtain, Nerissa. 

Enter a Servant 

Servant. Where is my lady ? 

Portia. Here ; what would my lord ? 

Servant. Madam, there is alighted at your gate 
A young Venetian, one that comes before 

Scene IX] The Merchant of Venice 83 

To signify the approaching of his lord, 

From whom he bringeth sensible regreets ; 

To wit, besides commends and courteous breath, 

Gifts of rich value. Yet I have not seen 90 

So likely an ambassador of love ; 

A day in April never came so sweet, 

To show how costly summer was at hand, 

As this fore-spurrer comes before his lord. 

Portia. No more, I pray thee ; I am half afeard 
Thou wilt say anon he is some kin to thee, 
Thou spend'st such high-day wit in praising him. 
Come, come, Nerissa ; for I long to see 
Quick Cupid's post that comes so mannerly. 

Nerissa. Bassanio, lord Love, if thy will it be I 100 




SCENE I. Venice. A Street 


Salanio. Now, what news on the Rialto ? 

Salarino. Why, yet it lives there unchecked that 
Antonio hath a ship of rich lading wracked on the 
narrow seas the Goodwins I think they call the 
place ; a very dangerous flat and fatal, where the car- 
casses of many a tall ship lie buried, as they say, if 
my gossip Report be an honest woman of her word, 

Satanio. I would she were as lying a gossip in 
that as ever knapped ginger, or made her neigh- 

Scene I] The Merchant of Venice 85 

bcurs believe she wept for the death of a third hus.- 10 
band. But it is true, without any slips of prolixity 
or crossing the plain highway of talk, that the good 
Antonio, the honest Antonio, O that I had a title 
good enough to keep his name company ! . 

Salarino. Come, the full stop. 

Salanio. Ha ! what sayest thou ? Why, the end 
is, he hath lost a ship. 

Salarino. I would it might prove the end of his 
losses ! 

Salanio. Let me say amen betimes, lest the devil 20 
cross my prayer; for here he comes in the likeness 

of a Jew. 


How now, Shy lock ? what news among the merchants ? 

Shy lock. You knew, none so .well, none so well as 
you, of my daughter's flight. 

Salarino. That 's certain ; I, for my part, knew the 
tailor that made the wings she flew withal. 

Salanio. And Shylock, for his own part, knew the 
bird was fledged ; and then it is the complexion of 
them all to leave the dam. 30 

Shylock. My own flesh and blood to rebel ! 

Salarino. There is more difference between thy 
flesh and ht/s than between jet and ivory; more 
between your bloods than there is between red wine 
and Rhenish. But tell us, do you hear whether 
Antonio have had any loss at sea or no? 

Shylock. There I have another bad match : a bank- 

86 The Merchant of Venice [Act ill 

rupt, a prodigal, who dare scarce show his head on 
the Rialto ; a beggar, that was used to come so smug 
upon the mart. Let him look to his bond : he was 40 
wont to call me usurer ; let him look to his bond : 
he was Wont to lend money for a Christian courtesy ; 
let him look to his bond. 

Salarino. Why, I am sure, if he forfeit, thou wilt 
not take his flesh ; what 's that good for ? 

Shylock. To bait fish withal ; if it will feed noth- 
ing else, it will feed my revenge. He hath disgraced 
me and hindered me half a million, laughed at my 
losses, mocked at my gains, scorned my nation, 
thwarted my bargains, cooled my friends, heated 50 
mine enemies ; and what 's his reason ? I am a Jew. 
Hath not a Jew eyes ? hath not a Jew hands, organs, 
dimensions, senses, affections, passions ? fed with the 
same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to 
the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed 
and cooled by the same winter and summer, as a 
Christian is ? If you prick us, do we not bleed ? if 
you tickle us, do we not laugh ? if you poison us, 
do we not die ? and if you wrong us, shall we not 
revenge ? If we are like you in the rest, we will 60' 
resemble you in that. If a Jew wrong a Christian, 
what is his humility? Revenge. If a Christian 
wrong a Jew, what should his sufferance be, by 
Christian example? Why, revenge. The villany 
you teach me, I will execute ; and it shall go hard 
but I will better the instruction. 

Scene I] The Merchant of Venice 87 

Enter a Servant 

Servant. Gentlemen, my master Antonio is at his 
house, and desires to speak with you both. 

Salarino. We have been up and down to seek him. 

Enter TUBAL 

Salanio. Here comes another of the tribe ; a third 70 
cannot be matched, unless the devil himself turn 
Jew. [Exeunt Salanio, Salarino, and Servant. 

Shy lock. How now, Tubal ? what news from Genoa ? 
hast thou found my daughter ? 

Tubal. I often came where I did hear of her, but 
cannot find her. 

Shy lock. Why, there, there, there, there ! a dia- 
mond gone, cost me two thousand ducats in Frank- 
fort ! The curse never fell upon our nation till now ; 
I never felt it till now ; two thousand ducats in that, 80 
and other precious, precious jewels. I would my 
daughter were dead at my foot, and the jewels in 
her ear 1 Would she were hearsed at my foot, and 
the ducats in her coffin ! No news of them ? 
Why, so ; and I know not how much is spent in the 
search. Why, thou loss upon loss ! the thief gone 
with so much, and so much to find the thief ; and no 
satisfaction, no revenge ; nor no ill luck stirring but 
what lights o' my shoulders ; no sighs but o' my 
breathing, no tears but o' my shedding. 90 

Tubal. Yes, other men have ill luck too. Antonio, 
as I heard in Genoa, 

88 . The Merchant of Venice [Act in 

Shylock. What, what, what ? ill luck, ill luck ? 

TubaL Hath an argosy cast away, coming from 

Shylock. I thank God ! I thank God ! Is it true? 
is it true ? 

TubaL I spoke with some of the sailors that es- 
caped the wrack. 

Shylock. I thank thee, good Tubal ! Good news, 100 
good news ! ha, ha ! Where ? in Genoa ? 

Tubal. Your daughter spent in Genoa, as I heard, 
in one night fourscore ducats. 

Shylock. Thou stick'st a dagger in me. I shall 
never see my gold again. Fourscore ducats at a sit- 
ting ! fourscore ducats ! 

Tubal. There came divers of Antonio's creditors 
in my company to Venice, that swear he cannot 
choose but break. 

Shylock. I am very glad of it, I '11 plague him ; no 
I '11 torture him. I am glad of it. 

Tubal. One of them showed me a ring that he had 
of your daughter for a monkey. 

Shylock. Out upon her ! Thou torturest me, Tu- 
bal. It was my turquoise ; I had it of Leah when I 
was a bachelor. I would not have given it for a wil- 
derness of monkeys. 

Tubal. But Antonio is certainly undone. 

Shylock. Nay, that 's true, that 's very true. Go, 
Tubal, fee me an officer ; bespeak him a fortnight 120 
before. I will have the heart of him, if he forfeit ; 

Scene II] The Merchant of Venice 89 

for, were he out of Venice, I can make what mer- 
chandise I will. Go, go, Tubal, and meet me at 
our synagogue : go, good Tubal ; at our synagogue, 
Tubal. \Exeunt. 

SCENE II. Belmont. A Room in Portia's House 


Portia. I pray you, tarry : pause a day or two 
Before you hazard, for, in choosing wrong, 
I lose your company ; therefore forbear a while. 
There 's something tells me, but it is not love, 
I would not lose you ; and you know yourself, 
Hate counsels not in such a quality. 
But lest you should not understand me well, 
And yet a maiden hath no tongue but thought, 
I would detain you here some month or two 
Before you venture for me. I could teach you 
How to choose right, but then I am forsworn ; 
So will I never be. So may you miss me ; 
But if you do, you '11 make me wish a sin, 
That I had been forsworn. Beshrew your eyes, 
They have o'erlook'd me and divided me ; 
One half of me is yours, the other half yours, 
Mine own, I would say; but if mine, then yours, 
And so all yours. O, these naughty times 
Put bars between the owners and their rights ! 
And so, though yours, not yours. Prove it so, 

90 The Merchant of Venice [Act m 

Let fortune go to hell for it, not I. 
I speak too long; but 'tis to petze the time, 
To eke it, and to draw it out in length, 
To stay you from election. . 

Bassanio. Let me choose ; 

For as I am, I live upon the rack. 

Portia. Upon the rack, Bassanio ! then confess 
What treason there is mingled with your love. 

Bassanio. None but that ugly treason of mistrust 
Which makes me fear the enjoying of my love. 
There may as well be amity and life 30 

'Tween snow and fire as treason and my love. 

Portia. Ay, but I fear you speak upon the rack, 
Where men enforced do speak any thing. 

Bassanio. Promise me life, and I'll confess the truth. 

Portia. Well then, confess and live. 

Bassanio. Confess and love 

Had been the very sum of my confession. 
O happy torment, when my torturer 
Doth teach me answers for deliverance ! 
But let me to my fortune and the caskets. 

Portia. Away, then ! I am lock'd in one of them ; 40 
If you do love me, you will find me out. 
Nerissa and the rest, stand all aloof. 
Let music sound while he doth make his choice ; 
Then, if he lose, he makes a swan-like end, 
Fading in music : that the comparison 
May stand more proper, my eye shall be the stream 
And watery death-bed for him. He may win ; 

Scene II] The Merchant of Venice 91 

And what is music then ? Then music is 

Even as the flourish when true subjects bow 

To a new-crowned monarch ; such it is 50 

As are those dulcet sounds in break of day 

That creep into the dream ing l>ridegroom's ear 

And summon him to marriage. Now he goes, 

With no less presence, but with much more love, 

Than young Alcides, when he did redeem 

The virgin tribute paid by howling Troy 

To the sea-monster. I stand for sacrifice ; 

The rest aloof are the Dardanian wives, 

With bleared visages, come forth to view 

The issue of the exploit. Go, Hercules ! 60 

Live thou, I live. With much more dismay 

i view the fight than thou that mak'st the fray. 

A Song, whilst BASSANIO comments on the caskets to 

Tell me where is fancy bred, 
Or in the heart or in the head? 
How begot, how nourished? 
Reply, reply. 

It is engendered in the eyes, 

With gazing fed ; and fancy dies 

In the cradle where it lies. 

Let us 1 all ring fancy 's knell; 70 

1 'II begin it, Ding, dong, bell. 

All. Ding, dong, bell. 

92 The Merchant of Venice [Act m 

Bassanio. So may the outward shows be least them- 
selves ; 

The world is still deceiv'd with ornament. 
In law, what plea so tainted and corrupt 
But, being season 'd with a gracious voice, 
Obscures the show of evil ? In religion, 
What damned error, but some sober brow 
Will bless it and approve it with a text, 
Hiding the grossness with fair ornament? 8 

There is no vice so simple but assumes 
Some mark of virtue on his outward parts. 
How many cowards, whose hearts are all as false 
As stairs of sand, wear yet upon their chins 
The beards of Hercules and frowning Mars, 
Who, inward search 'd, have livers white as milk ; 
And these assume but valour's excrement 
To render them redoubted ! Look on beauty, 
And you shall see 't is purchased by the weight, 
Which therein works a miracle in nature, 90 

Making them lightest that wear most of it. 
So are those crisped snaky golden locks, 
Which make such wanton gambols with the wind, 
Upon supposed fairness, often known 
To be the dowry of a second head, 
The skull that bred them in the sepulchre. 
Thus ornament is but the guiled shore 
To a most dangerous sea, the beauteous scarf 
Veiling an Indian beauty, in a word, 
The seeming truth which cunning times put on 100 

Scene ii] The Merchant of Venice 93 

To entrap the wisest. Therefore, thou gaudy gold, 
Hard food for Midas, I will none of thee ; 
Nor none of thee, thou pale and common drudge 
'Tween man and man ; but thou, thou meagre lead, 
Which rather threatenest than dost promise aught, 
Thy plainness moves me more than eloquence, 
And here choose I. Joy be the consequence ! 

Portia. [Aside] How all the other passions fleet to air, 
As doubtful thoughts, and rash-embrac'd despair, 
And shuddering fear, and green-eyed jealousy I no 

love ! be moderate ; allay thy ecstasy ; 
In measure rain thy joy ; scant this excess. 

1 feel too much thy blessing; make it less, 
For fear I surfeit. 

Bassanio. What find I here ? 

[ Opening the leaden casket. 
Fair Portia's counterfeit ! What demigod 
Hath come so near creation ? Move these eyes ? 
Or whether, riding on the balls of mine 
Seem they in motion? Here are sever 'd lips, 
Parted with sugar breath ; so sweet a bar 
Should sunder such sweet friends. Here in her hairs 120 
The painter plays the spider, and hath woven 
A golden mesh to entrap the hearts of men 
Faster than gnats in cobwebs. But her eyes ! 
How could he see to do them ? having made one, 
Methinks it should have power to steal both his 
And leave itself unfurnish'd. Yet look, how far 
The substance of my praise doth wrong this shadow 

94 The Merchant of Venice [Act ill 

In underprizing it, so far this shadow 

Doth limp behind the substance. Here's the scroll. 

The continent and summary of my fortune. 130 

' You that choose not by the view 
Chance as fair and choose as true! 
Since this fortune falls to you, 
Be content and seek no new. 
If you be well pleased with this, 
And hold your fortune for your bliss > 
Turn you where your lady is, 
And claim her with a loving kiss? 

A gentle scroll. Fair lady, by your leave ; 

I come by note, to give and to receive. \Kissing her. 

Like one of two contending in a prize, 141 

That thinks he hath done well in people's eyes, 

Hearing applause and universal shout, 

Giddy in spirit, still gazing in a doubt 

Whether those peals of praise be his or no ; 

So, thrice-fair lady, stand I, even so, 

As doubtful whether what I see be true, 

Until confirm'd, sign'd, ratified by you. 

Portia. You see me, .Lord Bassanio, where I stand, 
Such as I am. Though for myself alone 150 

I would not be ambitious in my wish, 
To wish myself much better, yet for you 
I would be trebled twenty times myself, 
A thousand times more fair, ten thousand times more 

Scene II] The Merchant of Venice 95 

That only to stand high in your account, 

I might in virtues, beauties, livings, friends, 

Exceed account. But the full sum of me 

Is sum of nothing ; which, to term in gross, 

Is an unlesson'd girl, unschool'd, unpractised : 

Happy in this, she is not yet so old i6c 

But she may learn ; happier than this, 

She is not bred so dull but she can learn ; 

Happiest of all in that her gentle spirit 

Commits itself to yours to be directed, 

As from her lord, her governor, her king. 

Myself and what is mine to you and yours 

Is now converted. But now I was the lord 

Of this fair mansion, master of my servants, 

Queen o'er myself ; and even now, but now, 

This house, these servants, and this same myself 170 

Are yours, my lord. I give them with this ring, 

Which when you part from, lose, or give away, 

Let it presage the ruin of your love, 

And be my vantage to exclaim on you. 

Bassanio. Madam, you have bereft me of all words, 
Only my blood speaks to you in my veins ; 
And there is such confusion in my powers 
As, after some oration fairly spoke 
By a beloved prince, there doth appear 
Among the buzzing pleased multitude, 180 

Where every something, being blent together, 
Turns to a wild of nothing, save of joy, 
Express'd and not express'd. But when this ring 

96 The Merchant of Venice [Act in 

Parts from this finger, then parts life from hence ; 
O, then be bold to say Bassanio's dead ! 

Nerissa. My lord and lady, it is now our time, 
That have stood by and seen our wishes prosper, 
To cry, good joy. Good joy, my lord and lady ! 

Gratiano. My lord Bassanio and my gentle lady, 
I wish you all the joy that you can wish, 190 

For I am sure you can wish none from me ; 
And when your honours mean to solemnize 
The bargain of your faith, I do beseech you, 
Even at that time I may be married too. 

Bassanio. With all my heart, so thou canst get a wife. 

Gratiano. I thank your lordship, you have got me one. 
My eyes, my lord, can look as swift as yours. 
You saw the mistress, I beheld the maid ; 
You lov'd, I lov'd ; for intermission 
No more pertains to me, my lord, than you. 200 

Your fortune stood upon the caskets there, 
And so did mine too, as the matter falls ; 
For wooing here until I sweat again, 
And swearing till my very roof was dry 
With oaths of love, at last, if promise last, 
I got a promise of this fair one here 
To have her love, provided that your fortune 
Achiev'd her mistress. 

Portia. Is this true, Nerissa ? 

Nerissa. Madam, it is, so you stand pleas'd withal. 

JBassanio. And do you, Gratiano, mean good faith ? 21? 

Gratiano. Yes, faith, my lord. 

Scene ii] The Merchant of Venice 97 

Bassanio. Our feast shall be much honoured in your 

Gratiano. But who comes here? Lorenzo and his 

infidel ? 
What ! and my old Venetian friend, Salerio ? 

Enter LORENZO, JESSICA, and SALERIO, a messenger 
from Venice 

Bassanio. Lorenzo and Salerio, welcome hither ; 
If that the youth of my new interest here 
Have power to bid you welcome. By your leave, 
I bid my very friends and countrymen, 
Sweet Portia, welcome. 

Portia. So do I, my lord ; 

They are entirely welcome. 220 

Lorenzo. I thank your honour. For my part, my lord, 
My purpose was not to have seen you here ; 
But meeting with Salerio by the way, 
He did entreat me, past all saying nay, 
To come with him along. 

Salerio. I did, my lord, 

And I have reason for it. Signior Antonio 
Commends him to you. \Gives Bassanio a letter. 

Bassanio. Ere I ope his letter, 

I pray you, tell me how my good friend doth. 

Salerio. Not sick, my lord, unless it be in mind, 
Nor well, unless in mind ; his letter there 230 

Will show you his estate. 


98 The Merchant of Venice [Act in 

Gratiano. Nerissa, cheer yon stranger ; bid her wel- 

Your hand, Salerio ; what 's the news from Venice ? 
How doth -that royal merchant, good Antonio? 
I know he will be glad of our success ; 
We are the Jasons, we have won the fleece. 

Salerio. I would you had won the fleece that he hath 

Portia. There are some shrewd contents in yon same 


That steals the colour fiorn Bassanio's cheek: 
Some dear friend dead ; else nothing in the world 240 
Could turn so much the constitution 
Of any constant man. What, worse and worse ? 
With leave, Bassanio ; I am half yourself, 
And I must freely have the half of any thing 
That this same paper brings you. 

Bassanio. O sweet Portia, 

Here are a few of the unpleasant'st words 
That ever blotted paper ! Gentle lady, 
When I did first impart my love to you, 
I freely told you, all the wealth I had 
Ran in my veins I was a gentleman, 250 

And then 1 told you true ; and yet, dear lady, 
Rating myself at nothing, you shall see 
How much I was a braggart. When I told you 
My state was nothing, I should then have told you 
That I was worse than nothing ; for indeed 
I have engag'd myself to a dear friend, 

Scene II] The Merchant of Venice 99 

Engag'd my friend to his mere enemy, 

To feed my means. Here is a letter, lady ; 

The paper as the body of my friend, 

And every word in it a gaping wound, 260 

Issuing life-blood. But is it true, Salerio ? 

Have all his ventures fail'd ? What, not one hit? 

From Tripolis, from Mexico, and England, 

From Lisbon, Barbary, and India, 

And not one vessel scape the dreadful touch 

Of merchant-marring rocks ? 

Salerio. Not one. my lord. 

Besides, it should appear that if he had 
The present money to discharge the Jew, 
He would not take it. Never did I know 
A creature that did bear the shape of man, 270 

So keen and greedy to confound a man. 
He plies the duke at morning and at night, 
And doth impeach the freedom of the state, 
If they deny him justice.. Twenty merchants, 
The duke himself, and the magnificoes 
Of greatest port, have all persuaded with him ; 
But none can drive him from the envious plea 
Of forfeiture, of justice, and his bond. 

Jessica. When I was with him I have heard him 


To Tubal and to Chus, his countrymen, 280 

That he would rather have Antonio's flesh 
Than twenty times the value of the sum 
That he did owe him ; and I know, my lord, 

TOO The Merchant of Venice [Act m 

If law, authority, and power deny not, 
It will go hard with poor Antonio. 

Portia. Is it your dear friend that is thus in trouble ? 

Bassanio. The dearest friend to me, the kindest 


The best-condition'd and unwearied spirit 
In doing courtesies ; and one in whom 
The ancient Roman honour more appears 290 

Than any that draws breath in Italy. 

Portia. What sum owes he the Jew ? 

Bassanio. For me, three thousand ducats. 

Portia. What, no more "? 

Pay him six thousand, and deface the bond ; 
Double six thousand, and then treble that, 
Before a friend of this description 
Shall lose a hair through Bassahio's fault. 
First go with me to church and call me wife, 
And then away to Venice to your friend ; 
For never shall you lie by Portia's side 300 

With an unquiet soul. You shall have gold 
To pay the petty debt twenty times over ; 
When it is paid, bring your true friend along. 
My maid Nerissa and myself, mean time, 
Will live as maids and widows. Come, away I 
For you shall hence upon- your wedding-day. 
Bid your friends welcome, show a merry cheer ; 
Since you are dear bought, I will love you dear. 
But let me hear the letter of your friend. 

Bassanio. [Reads] ' Sweet Bassanio, my ships 

Scene ill] The Merchant of Venice 101 

all miscarried, my creditors grow cruel, my estate is very 
low, my bond to the Jew is forfeit ; and since, in paying 
it, it is impossible I should live, all debts are cleared 
between you and I, if I might see you at my death. 
Notwithstanding, use your pleasure ; if your love do 
not persuade you to come, let not my letter? 

Portia. O love, dispatch all business, and be gone ! 

Bassanio. Since I have your good leave to go away, 
I will make haste ; but, till I come again, 

No bed shall e'er be guilty of my stay, 320 

Nor rest be interposer 'twixt us twain. \Exeunt. 

SCENE III. Venice. A Street 

Shylock. Gaoler, look to him ; tell not me of 


This is the fool that lends out money gratis. 
Gaoler, look to him. 

Antonio. Hear me yet, good Shylock. 

Shylock. I '11 have my bond ; speak not against my 


I have sworn an oath that I will have my bond. 
Thou call'dst me dog before thou hadst a cause ; 
But, since I am a dog, beware my fangs. 
The duke shall grant me justice. I do wonder, 
Thou naughty gaoler, that thou art so fond 
To come abroad with him at his request. 10 

f02 The Merchant of Venice [Act m 

Antonio. I pray thee, hear me speak. 

Shylock. I '11 have my bond ; I will not hear thee 


I '11 have my bond ; and therefore speak no more. 
I '11 not be made a soft and dull-eyed fool, 
To shake the head, relent, and sigh, and yield 
To Christian intercessors. Follow not ; 
I '11 have no speaking ; I will have my bond. [Exit. 

Salarino. It is the most impenetrable cur 
That ever kept with men. 

Antonio. Let him alone ; 

I '11 follow him no more with bootless prayers. 20 

He seeks my life ; his reason well I know. 
I oft deliver'd from his forfeitures 
Many that have at times made moan to me ; 
Therefore he hates me. 

Salarino. I am sure the duke 

Will never grant this forfeiture to hold. 

Antonio. The duke cannot deny the course of law; 
For the commodity that strangers have 
With us in Venice, if it be denied, 
Will much impeach the justice of the state, 
Since that the trade and profit of the city 30 

Consisteth of all nations. Therefore go ; 
These griefs and losses have so bated me 
That I shall hardly spare a pound of flesh 
To-morrow to my bloody creditor. 
Well, gaoler, on. Pray God, Bassanio come 
To see me pay his debt, and then I care not ! \Exeunt 

Scene IV] The Merchant of Venice 103 

SCENE IV. Belmont. A Room in Portia's House 


Lorenzo. Madam, although I speak it in your pres- 

You have a noble and a true conceit 
Of godlike amity, which appears most strongly 
In bearing thus the absence of your lord. 
But if you knew to whom you show this honour, 
How true a gentleman you send relief, 
How dear a lover of my lord your husband, 
I know you would be prouder of the work 
Than customary bounty can enforce you. 

Portia. I never did repent for doing good, 10 

Nor shall not now ; for in companions 
That do converse and waste the time together, 
Whose souls do bear an equal yoke of love, 
There must be needs a like proportion 
Of lineaments, of manners, and of spirit ; 
Which makes me think that this Antonio, 
Being the bosom lover of my lord, 
Must needs be like my lord. If it be so, 
How little is the cost I have bestow'd 
In purchasing the semblance of my soul 20 

From out the state of hellish cruelty ! 
This comes too near the praising of myself, 
Therefore no more of it ; hear other things. 

104 The Merchant of Venice [Act in 

Lorenzo, I commit into your hands 

The husbandry and manage of my house 

Until my lord's return ; for mine own part, 

I have toward heaven breath 'd a secret vow 

To live in prayer and contemplation, 

Only attended by Nerissa here, 

Until her husband and my lord's return. 90 

There is a monastery two miles off, 

And there will we abide. I do desire you 

Not to deny this imposition, 

The which my love and some necessity 

Now lays upon you. 

Lorenzo. Madam, with all my heart ; 

I shall obey you in all fair commands. 

Portia. My people do already know my mind, 
And will acknowledge you and Jessica 
In place of Lord Bassanio and myself. 
So fare you well till we shall meet again. 40 

Lorenzo. Fair thoughts and happy hours attend ou 

Jessica. I wish your ladyship all heart's content. 

Portia. I thank you for your wish, and am well pleas 'd 
To wish it back on you; fare you well, Jessica. 

\Exeunt Jessica and Lorenzo 
Now, Balthasar, 

As I have ever found thee honest-true, 
So let me find thee still. Take this same letter, 
And use thou all the endeavour of a man 
In speed to Padua. See thou render this 

The Merchant of Venice 105 

Into my cousin's hand, Doctor Bellario ; 50 

And, look, what notes and garments "he doth give thee, 

Bring them, I pray thee, with imagin'd speed 

Unto the tranect, to the common ferry 

Which trades to Venice. Waste no time in words, 

But get thee gone ; I shall be there before thee. 

Balthasar. Madam, I go with all convenient speed. 


Portia. Come on, Nerissa ; I have work in hand 
That you yet know not of. We '11 see our husbands 
Before they think of us. 

Nerissa. Shall they see us ? 

Portia. They shall, Nerissa, but in such a habit 60 
That they shall think we are accomplished 
With that we lack. I '11 hold thee any wager, 
When we are both accoutred like young men, 
I '11 prove the prettier fellow of the two, 
And wear my dagger with the braver grace, 
And speak between the change of man and boy 
With a reed voice, and turn two mincing steps 
Into a manly stride, and speak of frays 
Like a fine bragging youth ; and tell quaint lies, 
How honourable ladies sought my love, 70 

Which I denying, they fell sick and died, 
I could not do withal ; then I '11 repent, 
And wish, for all that, that I had not kill'd them. 
And twenty of these puny lies I'll tell, 
That men shall swear I have discontinued school 
Above a twelvemonth. I have within my mind 

io6 The Merchant of Venice [Act m 

A thousand raw tricks of these bragging Jacks 

Which I will practise. 

But come, I '11 tell thee all my whole device 

When I am in my coach, which stays for us 80 

At the park gate ; and therefore haste away, 

For we must measure twenty miles to-day. [Exeunt. 

SCENE V. The Same. A Garden 

Launcelot. Yes, truly; for, look you, the sins of the 
father are to be laid upon the children ; therefore, I 
promise you, I fear you. I was always plain with 
you, and so now I speak my agitation of the matter ; 
therefore be of good cheer, for truly I think you are 
damned. There is but one hope in it that can do 
you any good. 

Jessica. And what hope is that, I pray thee ? 

Launcelot. Marry, you may partly hope that you 
are not the Jew's daughter. 

Jessica. So the sins of my mother should be visited 
upon me. 

Launcelot. Truly then I fear you are damned both 
by father and mother ; thus when I shun Scylla,your 
father, I fall into Charybdis, your mother. Well, 
you are gone both ways. 

Jessica. I shall be saved by my husband ; he hath 
made me a Christian. 

Scene V] The Merchant of Venice 107 

Launcelot. Truly, the more to blame he ; we were 
Christians enow before, e'en as many as could well 20 
live, one by another. This making of Christians 
will raise the price of hogs ; if we grow all to be 
pork-eaters, we shall not shortly have a rasher on 
the coals for money. 


Jessica. I '11 tell my husband, Launcelot, what you 
say ; here he comes. 

Lorenzo. I shall grow jealous of v you shortly, 

Jessica. Nay, you need not fear us, Lorenzo ; 
Launcelot and I are out. He tells me flatly, there 3 
is no mercy for me in heaven, because I am a Jew's 
daughter ; and he says you are no good member of 
the commonwealth, for in converting Jews to Chris- 
tians you raise the price of pork. 

Lorenzo. I think the best grace of wit will shortly 
turn into silence, and discourse grow commendable 
in none only but parrots. Go in, sirrah ; bid them 
prepare for dinner. 

Launcelot. That is done, sir ; they have all 
stomachs. 40 

Lorenzo. Goodly Lord, what a wit-snapper are 
you ! then bid them" prepare dinner. 

Launcelot. That is done too, sir; only, cover is 
the word. 

Lorenzo. Will you cover then, sir ? 

io8 The Merchant of Venice [Act in 

Launcelot. Not so, sir, neither ; I know my duty. 

Lorenzo. Yet more quarrelling with occasion ! 
Wilt thou show the whole wealth of thy wit in an 
instant? I pray thee, understand a plain man in his 
plain meaning : go to thy fellows ; bid them cover 50 
the table, serve in the meat, and we will come in to 

Launcelot. For. the table, sir, it shall be served in ; 
for the meat, sir, it shall be covered ; for your com- 
ing in to dinner, sir, why, let it be as humours and 
conceits shall govern. \Exit. 

Lorenzo. O dear discretion, how his words are 

suited ! 

The fool hath planted in his memory 
An army of good words ; and I do know 
A many fools that stand in better place, 60 

Garnish 'd like him, that for a tricksy word 
Defy the matter. How cheer'st thou, Jessica ? 
And now, good sweet, say thy opinion, 
How dost thou like the lord Bassanio's wife ? 

Jessica. Past all expressing. It is very meet 
The lord Bassanio live an upright life, 
For, having such a blessing in his lady, 
He finds the joys of heaven here on earth ; 
And if on earth he do not mean it, then 
In reason he should never come to heaven. 70 

Why, if two gods should play some heavenly match, 
And on the wager lay two earthly women, 
And Portia one, there must be something else 

Scene V] The Merchant of Venice 109 

Pawn'd with the other, for the poor rude world 
Hath not her fellow. 

Lorenzo. Even such a husband 

Hast thou of me as she is for a wife. 

Jessica. Nay, but ask my opinion too of that. 

Lorenzo. I will anon ; first, let us go to dinner. 

Jessica. Nay, let me praise you while I have a 

Lorenzo. No, pray thee, let it serve for table-talk ; 80 
Then, howsoe'er thou speak'st, 'mong other things 
I shall digest it. 

Jessica. Well, I '11 set you forth. \Exeunt. 



SCENE I. Venice. A Court of Justice 

Enter the DUKE, the Magnificoes, ANTONIO, BASSANIO, 
GRATIANO, SALERIO, and others 

Duke. What, is Antonio here ? 

Antonio. Ready, so please your grace. 

Duke. I am sorry for thee ; thou art come to answer 
A stony adversary, an inhuman wretch 
Uncapable of pity, void and empty 
From any dram of mercy. 

Antonio. I have heard 

Your grace hath ta'en great pains to qualify 
His rigorous course ; but since he stands obdurate 

Scene /] The Merchant of Venice in 

And that no lawful means can carry me 

Out of his envy's reach, I do oppose 10 

My patience to his fury, and am arm'd 

To suffer, with a quietness of spirit, 

The very tyranny and rage of his. 

Duke. Go one, and call the Jew into the court. 

Salerio. He is ready at the door ; he comes, my lord. 


Duke. Make room, and let him stand before our 


Shylock, the world thinks, and I think so too, 
That thou but lead'st this fashion of thy malice 
To the last hour of act ; and then 't is thought 
Thou 'It show thy mercy and remorse, more strange 20 
Than is thy strange apparent cruelty ; 
And where thou now exact'st the penalty, 
Which is a pound of this poor merchant's flesh, 
Thou wilt not only loose the forfeiture, 
But, touch'd with human gentleness and love, 
Forgive a moiety of the principal ; 
Glancing an eye of pity on his losses. 
That have of late so huddled on his back, 
Enow to press a royal merchant down, 
And pluck commiseration of his state 30 

From brassy bosoms and rough hearts of flint, 
From stubborn Turks and Tartars, never train 'd 
To offices of tender courtesy. 
We all expect a gentle answer, Jew. 

1 1 2 The Merchant of Venice [Act iv 

Shy lock. I have possess 'd your grace of what I pur- 

And by our holy Sabbath have I sworn 
To have the due and forfeit of my bond. 
If you deny it, let the danger light 
Upon your charter and your city's freedom. 
Vou '11 ask me why I rather choose to have 40 

A weight of carrion flesh than to receive 
Three thousand ducats. I '11 not answer that ; 
But, say, it is my humour : is it answer'd ? 
What if my house be troubled with a rat, 
And I be pleas'd to give ten thousand ducats 
To have it ban^d ? What, are you answer'd yet ? 
Some men there are love'not a gaping pig, 
Some that are mad if they behold a cat ; 
Masters of passion sway it to the mood 
Of what it likes or loathes. Now, for your answer ; 50 
As there is no firm reason to be render'd 
Why he cannot abide a gaping pig, 
Why he a harmless necessary cat, 
So can I give no reason, nor I will not, 
More than a lodg'd hate and a certain loathing 
I bear Antonio, that I follow thus 
A losing suit against him. Are you answer'd ? 

Bassanio. This is no answer, thou unfeeling man, 
To excuse the current of thy cruelty. 

Shy lock. I am not bound to please thee with my 
answer. 60 

Bassanio. Do all men kill the things they do not love ? 

-Scene I] The Merchant of Venice 113 

Shylock. Hates any man the thing he would not kill ? 

Bassanio. Every offence is not a hate at first. 

Shylock. What, wouldst thou have a serpent sting thee 
twice ? 

Antonio. I pray you, think you question with the 


You may as well go stand upon the beach, 
And bid the main flood bate his usual height; 
You may as well use question with the wolf 
Why he hath made the ewe bleat for the lamb ; 
You may as well forbid the mountain pines 70 

To wag their high tops and to make no noise, 
When they are fretted with the gusts of heaven ; 
You may as well do any thing most hard, 
As seek to soften that than which what 's harder ? 
His Jewish heart. Therefore, I do beseech you, 
Make no more offers, use no farther means, 
But with all brief and plain conveniency 
Let me have judgment, and the Jew his will. 

Bassanio. For thy three thousand ducats here is six. 
/ Shylock. If every ducat in six thousand ducats 80 
Were in six parts, and every part a ducat, 
I would not draw them ; I would have my bond. 

Duke. How shalt thou hope for mercy, rendering 
none ? . , . 

Shylock. What judgment shall I dread, doing no 

wrong ? 

You have among you many a purchas'd slave, 
WJiich, like your asses and your dogs and mules, 


114 The Merchant of Venice [Act w 

You use in abject and in slavish parts, 

Because you bought them. Shall I say to you, 

Let them be free, marry them to your heirs ? 

Why sweat they under burthens ? let their beds 90 

Be made as soft as yours, and let their palates 

Be season 'd with such viands? You will answer, 

The slaves are ours. So do I answer you : 

The pound of flesh which I demand of him 

Is dearly bought ; 't is mine, and I will have it. 

If you deny me, fie upon your law ! 

There is no force in the decrees of Venice. 

I stand for judgment. Answer ; shall I have it? 

Duke. Upon my power I may dismiss this court 
Unless Bellario, a learned doctor, 100 

Whom I have sent for to determine this ? 
Come here to-day. 

Salerio. My lord, here stays without 

A messenger with letters from the doctor, 
New come from Padua. 

Duke. Bring us the letters ; call the messenger. 

Bassanio. Good cheer, Antonio ! What, man, cour- 
age yet ! 

The Jew shall have my flesh, blood, bones, and all, 
Ere thou shalt lose for me one drop of blood. 

Antonio. I am a tainted wether of the flock, 
Meetest for death ; the weakest kind of fruit 
Drops earliest to the ground, and so let me. 
You cannot better be employ 'd, Bassanio, 
Than to live still and write mine epitaph, 

Scene I] The Merchant of Venice 115 

Enter NERISSA, dressed like a lawyer's clerk 

Duke. Came you from Padua, from Bellario ? 

'Nerissa. From both, my lord. Bellario greets your 
grace. [Presenting a letter. 

Bassanio. Why dost thou whet thy knife so earnestly? 

Shylock. To cut the forfeiture from that bankrupt 

Gratiano. Not on thy sole, but on thy soul, harsh Jew, 
Thou mak'st thy knife keen ; but no metal can, 
No, not the hangman's axe, bear half the keenness 120 
Of thy sharp envy. Can no prayers pierce thee ? 

Shylock. No, none that thou hast wit enough to make. 

Gratiano. O, be thou damn'd, inexorable dogl 
And for thy life let justice be accus'd ! 
Thou almost mak'st me waver in my faith, 
To hold opinion with Pythagoras, 
That souls of animals infuse themselves 
Into the trunks of men. Thy currish spirit 
Govern 'd a wolf, who, hang'd for human slaughter, 
Even from the gallows did his fell soul fleet, 130 

And, whilst thou lay'st in thy unhallow'd dam, 
Infus'd itself in thee ; for thy desires 
Are wolvish, bloody, starved, and ravenous. 

Shylock. Till thou canst rail the seal from off my bond 
Thou but offend'st thy lungs to speak so loud. 
Repair thy wit, good youth, or it will fall 
To cureless ruin. I stand here for law. 

Duke. This letter from Bellario doth commend 

n6 The Merchant of Venice [Act IV 

A young and learned doctor to our court. 
Where is he ? 

Nerissa. He attendeth here hard by, 140 

To know your answer, whether you '11 admit him. 

Duke. With all my heart. Some three or four of 


Go give him courteous conduct to this place. 
Meantime, the court shall hear Bellario's letter. 

Clerk. [Reads] ' Your grace shall understand that 
at the receipt of your letter I am very sick; but in the 
instant that your messenger came, in loving visitation 
was with me a young doctor of Rome ; his name is 
Balthasar. I acquainted him with the cause in con- 
troversy between the Jew and Antonio the merchant ; 150 
we turned c?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 graced 
request in my stead. I beseech you, let his lack of years 
be no impediment to let him lack a reverend estimation ; 
for I never knew so young a body with so old a head. 
I leave him to your gracious acceptance, whose trial 
shall better publish his commendation.'' 

Duke. You hear the learn'd Bellario, what he writes; 160 
And here, I take it, is the doctor come. 

Enter PORTIA, dressed like a doctor of laws 

Give me your hand. Came you from old Bellario ? 
Portia, I did, my lord. 

Scene I] The Merchant of Venice 117 

Duke. You are welcome ; take your place. 

Are you acquainted with the difference 
That holds this present question in the court ? 

Portia. I am informed throughly of the cause. 
Which is the merchant here, and which the Jew ? 

Duke. Antonio and old Shylock, both stand forth. 

Portia. Is your name Shylock ? 

Shylock. Shylock is my name. 

Portia* Of a strange nature is the suit you follow, 170 
Yet in such rule that the Venetian law 
Cannot impugn you as you do proceed. 
You stand within his danger, do you not? 

Antonio. Ay, so he says. 

Portia. Do you confess the bond ? 

Antonio. I do. 

Portia. Then must the Jew be merciful. 

Shylock. On what compulsion must I ? tell me that. 

Portia. The quality of mercy is not strain 'd ; 
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven 
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest; 
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes. 180 

'T is mightiest in the mightiest ; it becomes 
The throned monarch better than his crown. 
His sceptre shows the force of temporal power, 
The attribute to awe and majesty, 
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings ; 
But mercy is above this sceptred sway ; 
It is enthroned in the hearts of kings, 
[t is an attribute to God himself ; 

n8 The Merchant of Venice [Act IV 

And earthly power doth then show likest God's 

When mercy seasons justice. Therefore, Jew, 190 

Though justice be thy plea, consider this, 

That, in the course of justice, none of us 

Should see salvation ; we do pray for mercy, 

And that same prayer doth teach us all to render 

The deeds of mercy. I have spoke thus much 

To mitigate the justice of thy plea, 

Which if thou follow, this strict court of Venice 

Must needs give sentence 'gainst the merchant there. 

Shy lock. My deeds upon my head ! I crave the law, 
The penalty and forfeit of my bond. 2ou 

Portia. Is he not able to discharge the money ? 

Bassanio. Yes, here I tender it for him in the court 
Yea, twice the sum. If that will not suffice, 
I will be bound to pay it ten times o'er, 
On forfeit of my hands, my head, my heart ; 
If this will not suffice, it must appear 
That malice bears down truth. And I beseech you, 
Wrest once the law to your authority ; 
To do a great right, do a little wrong, 
And curb this cruel devil of his will. 210 

Portia. It must not be. There is no power in Venice 
Can alter a decree established ; 
'T will be recorded for a precedent, 
And many an error by the same example 
Will rush into the state. It cannot be. 

Shylock. A Daniel come to judgment ! yea, a Daniel 1 
O wise young judge, how do I honour thee ! 

Scene I] The Merchant of Venice 119 

Portia. I pray you, let me look upon the bond. 

Shy lock. Here 't is, most reverend doctor, here it is* 

Portia. Shylock, there 's thrice thy money offer'd thee. 

Shylock. An oath, an oath, I have an oath in heaven ; 
Shall I lay perjury upon my soul ? 22* 

No, not for Venice. 

Portia. Why, this bond is forfeit ; 

And lawfully by 'this the Jew may claim 
A pound of flesh, to be by him cut off 
Nearest the merchant's heart. Be merciful; 
Take thrice thy money; bid me tear the bond. 

Shylock. When it is paid according to the tenour. 
It doth appear you are a worthy judge ; 
You know the law ; your exposition 230 

Hath been most sound. I charge you by the law, 
Whereof you are a well-deserving pillar, 
Proceed to judgment. By my soul I swear, 
There is no power in the tongue of man 
Tc alter me. I stay here on my bond. 

Antonio. Most heartily I do beseech the court 
To give the judgment. 

Portia. Why then, thus it is: 

You must prepare your bosom for his knife. 

Shylock. O noble judge ! O excellent young man \ 

Portia. For the intent and purpose of the law 240 
Hath full relation to the penalty, 
Which here appeareth due upon the bond. 

Shylock. 'T is very true. O wise and upright judge 
How much more elder art thou than thy looks ! 

120 The Merchant of Venice [Act iv 

Portia. Therefore lay bare your bosom. 

Shy lock. Ay, his breast ; 

So says the bond doth it not, noble judge? 
Nearest his heart ; those are the very words. 

Portia. It is so. Are there balance here to weigh 
the flesh ? 

Shylock. I have them ready. 

Portia. Have by some surgeon, Shylock, on your 
charge, 250 

To stop his wounds, lest he do bleed to death. 

Shylock. Is it so nominated in the bond ? 

Portia. It is not so express 'd ; but what of that ? 
'T were good you do so much for charity. 

Shylock. I cannot find it ; -t is not in the bond. 

Portia. You, merchant, have you any thing to say ? 

Antonio. But little ; I am arm'd and well prepar'd. 
Give me your hand, Bassanio ; fare you well ! 
Grieve not that I am fallen to this for you ; 
For herein Fortune shows herself more kind 260 

Than is her custom. It is still her use 
To let the wretched man outlive his wealth, 
To view with hollow eye and wrinkled brow 
An age of poverty; from which lingering penance 
Of such misery doth she cut me off. 
Commend me to your honourable wife. 
Tell her the process of Antonio's end ; 
Say how I lov'd you, speak me fair in death, 
And when the tale is told bid her be judge 
Whether Bassanio had not once a love. 270 

Scene I] The Merchant of Venice 121 

Repent not you that you shall lose your friend, 
And he repents not that he pays your debt ; 
For if the Jew do cut but deep enough, 
I '11 pay it instantly with all my heart. 

Bassanio. Antonio, I am married to a wife 
Which is as dear to me as life itself ; 
But life itself, my wife, and all the world, 
Are not with me esteem 'd above thy life. 
I would lose all, ay, sacrifice them all 
Here to this devil, to deliver you. 280 

Portia. Your wife would give you little thanks for that, * 
If she were by to hear you make the offer. 

Gratiano. I have a wife, whom, I protest, I love ; 
I would she were in heaven, so she could 
Entreat some power to change this currish Jew. 

Nerissa. 'T is well you offer it behind her back ; 
The wish would make else an unquiet house. 

Shylock. [Aside] These be the Christian husbands. 

I have a daughter ; 
Would any of the stock of Barrabas 
Had been her husband rather than a Christian ! 290 
[To Portia] We trifle time ; I pray thee, pursue sentence. 

Portia. A pound of that same merchant's flesh is 

thine ; 
The court awards it, and the law doth give it. 

Shylock. Most rightful judge ! 

Portia. And you must cut this flesh from off his 

breast ; 
The law allows it, and the court awards it. 

122 The Merchant of Venice [Act IV 

Shylock. Most learned judge I A sentence 1 Come, 
prepare 1 

Portia. Tarry a little ; there is something else. 
This bond doth give thee here no jot of blood ; 
The words expressly are, a pound of flesh. 300 

Take then thy bond, take thou thy pound of flesh ; 
But, in the cutting it, if thou dost shed 
One drop of Christian blood, thy lands and goods 
Are, by the laws of Venice, confiscate 
Unto the state of Venice. 

Gratiano. O upright judge ! Mark, Jew 1 O 
learned judge ! 

Shylock. Is that the law ? 

Portia. Thyself shalt see the act ; 

For, as thou urgest justice, be assur'd 
Thou shalt have justice, more than thou desirest. 

Gratiano. O learned judge ! Mark Jew ! a learned 
judge ! 310 

Shylock. I take this offer, then ; pay the bond thrice. 
And let the Christian go. 

Bassanio. Here is the money. 

Portia. Soft! 

The Jew shall have all justice ; soft 1 no haste : 
He shall have nothing but the penalty. 

Gratiano. O Jew ! an upright judge, a learned judge 1 

Portia. Therefore prepare thee to cut off the flesh. 
Shed thou no blood, nor cut thou less nor more 
But just a pound of flesh ; if thou tak'st more 
Or less than a just pound, be it but so much y.r 

Scene I] The Merchant of Venice 123 

As makes it light or heavy in the substance, 

Or the division of the twentieth part 

Of one poor scruple nay, if the scale do turn 

But in the estimation of a hair, 

Thou diest, and all thy goods are confiscate. 

Gratiano. A second Daniel, a Daniel, Jew ! 
Now, infidel, I have thee on the hip. 

Portia. Why doth the Jew pause? Take thy for- 

Shylock. Give me my principal, and let me go. 

Bassanio. I have it ready for thee ; here it is. 330 

Portia. He hath refus'd it in the open court ; 
He shall have merely justice and his bond. 

Gratiano. A Daniel, still say I, a second Daniel ! 
I thank thee, Jew, for teaching me that word. 

Shylock. Shall I not have barely my principal ? 

Portia. Thou shalt have nothing but the forfeiture, 
To be so taken at thy peril, Jew. 

Shylock. Why, then the devil give him good of it 1 
I '11 stay no longer question. 

Portia. Tarry, Jew ; 

The law hath yet another hold on you. 340 

It is enacted in the laws of Venice, 
If it be prov'd against an alien 
That by direct or indirect attempts 
He seek the life of any citizen, 
The party 'gainst the which he doth contrive 
Shall seize one half his goods ; the other half 
Comes to the privy coffer of the state ; 

124 The Merchant of Venice [Act iv 

And the offender's life lies in the mercy 

Of the duke only, 'gainst all other voice. 

In which predicament, I say, thou stand'st ; 350 

For it appears, by manifest proceeding, 

That indirectly, and directly too, 

Thou hast contriv'd against the very life 

Of the defendant, and thou hast incurr'd 

The danger formerly by me rehears'd. 

Down therefore, and beg mercy of the duke. 

Gratiano. Beg that thou mayst have leave to hang 


And yet, thy wealth being forfeit to the state, 
Thou hast not left the value of a cord ; 
Therefore thou must be hang'd at the state's charge. 360 

Duke. That thou shalt see the difference of our spirits, 
I pardon thee thy life before thou ask it. 
. For half thy wealth, it is Antonio's ; 
The other half comes to the general state, 
Which humbleness may drive unto a fine. 

Portia. Ay, for the state, not for Antonio. 

Shy lock. Nay, take my life and all ; pardon not that. 
You take my house when you do take the prop 
That doth sustain my house ; you take my life 
When you do take the means whereby I live. 370 

Portia. W 7 hat mercy can you render him, Antonio ? 

Gratiano. A halter gratis ; nothing else, for God's sake. 

Antonio. So please my lord the duke and all the court 
To quit the fine for one half of his goods, 
I am content, so he will let me have 

Scene I] The Merchant of Venice 125 

The other half in use, to render it, 

Upon his death, unto the gentleman 

That lately stole his daughter. 

Two things provided more, that, for this favour, 

He presently become a Christian ; 380 

The other, that he do record a gift, 

Here in the court, of all he dies possess 'd, 

Unto his son Lorenzo and his daughter. 

Duke. He shall do this, or else I do recant 
The pardon that I late pronounced here. 

Portia. Art thou contented, Jew ? what dost thou say ? 

Shylock. I am content. 

Portia. Clerk, draw a deed of gift. 

Shylock. I pray you, give me leave to go from hence ; 
I am not well. Send the deed after me, 
And I will sign it. 

Duke. Get thee gone, but do it. 390 

Gratiano. In christening thou shalt have two god- 
fathers ; 

Had I been judge, thou shouldst have had ten more, 
To bring thee to the gallows, not the font. \Exit Shylock. 

Duke. Sir, I entreat you home with me to dinner. 

Portia. I humbly do desire your grace of pardon ; 
I must away this night toward Padua, 
And it is meet I presently set forth. 

Duke. I am sorry that your leisure serves you not. 
Antonio, gratify this gentleman, 

For, in my mind, you are much bound to him. 400 

[Exeunt Duke and his train. 

126 The Merchant of Venice [Act iv 

Bassanio. Most worthy gentleman, I and my friend 
Have by your wisdom been this day acquitted 
Of grievous penalties ; in lieu whereof 
Three thousand ducats, due unto the Jew, 
We freely cope your courteous pains withal. 

Antonio. And stand indebted, over and above, 
In love and service to you evermore. 

Portia. He is well paid that is well satisfied ; 
And I, delivering you, am satisfied, 
And therein do account myself well paid. 410 

My mind was never yet more mercenary. 
I pray you, know me when we meet again ; 
I wish you well, and so I take my leave. 

.Bassanio. Dear sir, of force I must attempt you 


Take some remembrance of us, as a tribute, 
Not as a fee ; grant me two things, I pray you, 
Not to deny me, and to pardon me. 

Portia. You press me far, and therefore I will yield. 
\To Antonio'} Give me your gloves, I'll wear them for 

your sake ; 

\To Bassanio~\ And, for your love, I'll take this ring 
from you. 420 

Do not draw back your hand ; I'll take no more, 
And you in love shall not deny me this. 

Bassanio. This ring, good sir, alas ! it is a trifle ; 
I will not shame myself to give you this. 

Portia. I will have^ nothing else but only this ; 
And now methinks I have a mind to it. 

Scene I] The Merchant of Venice 127 

Bassanio. There's more depends on this than on the 


The dearest ring in Venice will I give you, 
And find it out by proclamation ; 
Only for this, I pray you, pardon me. 430 

Portia. I see, sir, you are liberal in offers; 
You taught me first to beg, and now methinks 
You teach me how a beggar should be answered. 

Bassanio. Good sir, this ring was given me by my 

wife ; 

And when she put it on she made me vow 
That I should neither sell, nor give, nor lose it. 

Portia. That 'scuse serves many men to save their 

gifts ; 

And if your wife be not a mad woman, 
And know how well I have deserv'd the ring, 
She would not hold out enemy for ever, 440 

For giving it to me. Well, peace be with you I 

[Exeunt Portia and Nerissa. 

Antonio. My lord Bassanio, let him have the ring ; 
Let his deservings and my love withal 
Be valued 'gainst your wife's commandement. 

Bassanio. Go, Gratiano, run and overtake him ; 
Give him the ring, and bring him, if thou canst, 
Unto Antonio's house. Away ! make haste. 

\Exit Gratiano. 

Come, you and I willthither presently ; 
And in the morning early will we both 
Fly toward Belmont. Come, Antonio. [Exeunt. 450 

128 The Merchant of Venice [Act IV 

SCENE II. The Same. A Street 

Portia. Inquire the Jew's house out, give him this 


And let him sign it ; we '11 away to-night, 
And be a day before our husbands home. 
This deed will be well welcome to Lorenzo. 


Gratiano. Fair sir, you are well o'erta'en ; 
My lord Bassanio, upon more advice, 
Hath sent you here this ring, and doth entreat 
Your company at dinner. 

Portia. That cannot be. 

His ring I do accept most thankfully, 
And so, I pray you, tell him ; furthermore, 10 

I pray you, show my youth old Shylock's house. 

Gratiano. That will I do. 

Nerissa. Sir, I would -peak with you. 

[Aside to Portia~\ I '11 see if I can get my husband's ring, 
Which I did make him swear to keep for ever. 

Portia. [Aside to Nerissd\ Thou mayst, I warrant. 

We shall have old swearing 
That they did give the rings away to men ; 
But we '11 outface them, and outs wear them too. 
Away ! make haste ; thou know'st where I will tarry. 

Nerissa. Come, good sir, will you show me to this 
house? {Exeunt. 



SCENE I. Belmont. Avenue to Portia's House 

Lorenzo. The moon shines bright. In such a night 

as this, 

When the sweet wind did gently kiss the trees 
And they did make no noise in such a night, 
Troilus methinks mounted the Trojan walls, 
And sigh'd his soul toward the Grecian tents, 
Where Cressid lay that night. 

HER. OF YEN. 9 129 

ijo The Merchant of Venice [Act v 

Jessica. In such a night, 

Did Thisbe fearfully o'ertrip the dew, 
And saw the lion's shadow ere himself, 
And ran dismay'd away. 
. Lorenzo. In such a night, 

Stood Dido with a willow in her hand .to 

Upon the wild sea banks, and waft her love 
To come again to Carthage. 

Jessica. . In such a night , 

Medea gather 'd the enchanted herbs 
That did renew old ^Eson. 

Lorenzo. In such a night, 

Did Jessica steal from the wealthy Jew, 
And with an unthrift love did run from Venice 
As far as Belmont. 

Jessica. In such a night, 

Did young Lorenzo swear he lov'd her well, 
Stealing her soul with many vows of faith, 
And ne'er a true one. 

Lorenzo. In such a night, 20 

Did pretty Jessica, like a little shrew, 
Slander her love, and he forgave it her. 

Jessica. I would out-night you, did nobody come ; 
But, hark, I hear the footing of a man. 


Lorenzo. Who comes so fast in silence of the night ? 
Stephana. A friend. 

Scene I] The Merchant of Venice 131 

Lorenzo. A friend ! what friend ? your name, I pray 
you, friend ? 

Stephano. Stephano is my name, and I bring word 
My mistress will before the break of day 
Be here at Belmont ; she doth stray about 30 

By holy crosses, where she kneels and prays 
For happy wedlock hours. 

Lorenzo. Who comes with her ? 

Stephano. None but a holy hermit and her maid. 
I pray you, is my master yet return 'd ? 

Lorenzo. He is not, nor we have not heard from 


But go we in, I pray thee, Jessica, 
And ceremoniously let us prepare 
Some welcome for the mistress of the house. 


Launcelot. Sola, sola ! wo ha, ho ! sola, sola ! 

Lorenzo. Who calls ? 40 

Launcelot. Sola ! did you see Master Lorenzo and 
Mistress Lorenzo ? sola, sola ! 

Lorenzo. Leave hollaing, man ; here. 

Launcelot. Sola ! where ? where ? 

Lorenzo. Here. 

Launcelot. Tell him there 's a, post come from my 
master, with his horn full of good news ; my master will 
be here ere morning. \Exit. 

Lorenzo. Sweet soul, let 's in, and there expect their 

132 The Merchant of Venice [Act V 

And yet no matter ; why should we go in ? 50 

My friend Stephano, signify, I pray you, 
Within the house, your mistress is at hand ; 
And bring your music forth into the air. 

[Exit Stephano. 

How sweet the moonlight sleeps upon this bank 1 
Here will we sit and let the sounds of music 
Creep in our ears ; soft stillness and the night 
Become the touches of sweet harmony. 
Sit; Jessica. Look how the floor of heaven 
Is thick inlaid with patines of bright gold. 
There 's not the smallest orb which thou behold'st 60 
But in his motion like an angel sings, 
Still quiring to the young-eyed cherubins ; 
Such harmony is in immortal souls, 
But whilst this muddy vesture of decay 
Doth grossly close it in, we cannot hear it. 

Enter Musicians 

Come, ho ! and wake Diana with a hymn ; 

With sweetest touches pierce your mistress' ear, 

And draw her home with music. , . [Music. 

Jessica. I am never merry when I hear sweet music. 

Lorenzo. The reason is, your spirits are attentive. 70 
For do but note a wild and' wanton herd, 
Or race of youthful and unhandled colts, 
Fetching mad bounds, bellowing and neighing loud, 
Which is the hot condition of their blood ; 
If they but hear perchance a trumpet sound, 

Scene I] The Merchant of Venice 133 

Or any air of music touch their ears, 

You shall perceive them make a mutual stand, 

Their savage eyes turn'd to a modest gaze 

By the sweet power of music. Therefore the poet 

Did feign that Orpheus drew trees, stones, and floods ; 80 

Since nought so stockish, hard, and full of rage, 

But music for the time doth change his nature. 

The man that hath no music in himself, 

Nor is not mov'd with concord of sweet sounds, 

Is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils ; 

The motions of his spirit are dull as night, 

And his affections dark as Erebus. 

Let no such man be trusted. Mark the music. 


Portia. That light we see is burning in my hall. 
How far that little candle throws his beams 1 90 

So shines a good deed in a naughty world. 

Nerissa, When the moon shone, we did not see the 

Portia. So doth the greater glory dim the less ; 
A substitute shines brightly as a king 
Until a king be by, and then his state 
Empties itself, as doth an inland brook 
Into the main of waters. Music ! hark ! 

Nerissa. It is your music, madam, of the house. 

Portia. Nothing is good, I see, without respect ; 
Methinks it sounds much sweeter than by day. 100 

Nerissa. Silence bestows that virtue on it, madam. 

134 The Merchant of Venice [Act V 

Portia. The crow doth sing as sweetly as the lark 
When neither is attended ; and I think 
The nightingale, if she should sing by day 
When every goose is cackling, would be thought 
No better a musician than the wren. 
How many things by season season'd are 
To their right praise and true perfection ! 
Peace, ho ! the moon sleeps with Endymion, 
And would not be awak'd. [Music ceases. 

Lorenzo. That is the voice, no 

Or I am much deceiv'd, of Portia. 

Portia. He knows me as the blind man knows the 

By the bad voice. 

Lorenzo. Dear lady, welcome home. 

Portia. We have been praying for our husbands 


Which speed, we hope, the better for our words. 
Are they return'd? 

Lorenzo. Madam, they are not yet ; 

But there is come a messenger before, 
To signify their coming. 

Portia. Go in, Nerissa ; 

Give order to my servants that they take 
No note at all of our being absent hence ; 
Nor you, Lorenzo ; Jessica, nor you. [A tucket sounds 

Lorenzo. Your husband is at hand ; I hear his trumpet. 
We are no tell-tales, madam ; fear you not. 

Portia. This night methinks is but the daylight sick, 

Scene I] The Merchant of Venice 135 

It looks a little paler ; 't is a day 
Such as the day is when the sun is hid. 


Bassanio. We should hold day with the Antipodes 
[f you would walk in absence of the sun. 

Portia. Let me give light, but let me not be light ; 
For a light wife doth make a heavy husband, 130 

And never be Bassanio so for me. 
But God sort all ! You are welcome home, my lord. 

Bassanio. I thank you, madam. Give welcome to 

my friend. 

This is the man, this is Antonio, 
To whom I am so infinitely bound. 

Portia. You should in all sense be much bound to him, 
For, as I hear, he was much bound for you. 

Antonio. No more than I am well acquitted of. 

Portia. Sir, you are very welcome to our house ; 
It must appear in other ways than words, 140 

Therefore I scant this breathing courtesy. 

Gratiano. \To Nerissd\ By yonder moon I swear you 

do me wrong ; 
In faith, I gave it to the judge's clerk. 

Portia. A quarrel, ho, already ! what 's the matter ? 

Gratiano. About a hoop of gold, a paltry ring 
That she did give me, whose poesy was 
For all the world like cutler's poetry 
Upon a knife, ' Love me, and leave me not.' 

136 The Merchant of Venice [Act v 

Nerissa. What talk you of the poesy or the value ? 
You swore, to me, when I did give it you, 150 

That you would wear it till the hour of death, 
And that it should lie with you in your grave ; 
Though not for me, yet for your vehement oaths, 
You should have been respective and have kept it. 
Gave it a judge's clerk ! but well I know 
The clerk will ne'er wear hair on 's face that had it. 

Gratiano. He will, an if he live to be a man. 

Nerissa. Ay, if a woman live to be a man. 

Gratiano. Now, by this hand, I gave it to a youth, 
A kind of .boy, a little scrubbed boy, , 160 

No higher than thyself, the judge's clerk, 
A prating boy, that begg'd it as 'a fee ; 
I could not for my heart deny it him. 

Portia. You were to blame, I must be plain with you, 
To part so slightly with your wife's first gift ; 
A thing stuck on with oaths upon your finger, 
And so riveted with faith unto your flesh. 
I gave my love a ring, and made him swear 
Never to part with it ; and here he stands. 
I dare be sworn for him, he would not leave it, 170 

Nor pluck it from his finger, for the wealth 
That the world masters. Now, in faith, Gratiano, 
You give your wife too unkind a cause of grief ; 
An >t were to me, I should be mad at it. 

Bassanio. \Aside\ Why, I were best to cut my left 

hand off, 
And swear I lost the ring 'defending it. 

Scene I] The Merchant of Venice 137 

Gratiano. My lord Bassanio gave his ring away 
Unto the judge that begg'd it, and indeed 
Deserv'd it too ; and then the boy, his clerk, 
That took some pains in writing, he begg'd mine ; 180 
And neither man nor master would take aught 
But the two rings. 

Portia. What ring gave you, my lord ? 

Not that, I hope, which you receiv'd of me. 

Bassanio. If I could add a lie unto a fault, 
I would deny it, but you see my finger 
Hath not the ring upon it ; ij; is gone. 

Portia. Even so void is your false heart of truth. 
By heaven, I will ne'er come in your bed 
Until I see the ring. 

Nerissa. Nor I in yours 

Till I again see mine. 

Bassanio. Sweet Portia, 190 

If you did know to whom I gave the ring, 
If you did know for whom I gave the ring, 
And would conceive for what I gave the ring, 
And how unwillingly I left the ring, 
When nought would be accepted but the ring, 
You would abate the strength of your displeasure. 

Portia. If you had known the virtue of the ring, 
Or half her worthiness that gave the ring, 
Or your own honour to contain the ring, 
You would not then have parted with the ring. 200 

What man is there so much unreasonable, 
If you had pleas'd to have defended it 

138 The Merchant of Venice [Act V 

With any terms of zeal, wanted the modesty 
To urge the thing heM as a ceremony ? 
Nerissa teaches me what to believe ; 
I '11 die for 1 t but some woman had the ring. 

Bassanio. No, by my honour, madam, by my soul, 
No woman had it, but a civil doctor, 
Which did refuse three thousand ducats of me, 
And begg'd the ring ; the which I did deny him, 210 
And suffer'd him to go displeas'd away, 
Even he that did uphold the very life 
Of my dear friend. What should I say, sweet lady? 
I was enforc'd to send it after him ; 
I was beset with shame and courtesy;* 
My honour would not let ingratitude 
So much besmear it. Pardon me, good lady ; 
For, by these blessed candles of the night, 
Had you been there, I think you would have begg'd 
The ring of me to give the worthy doctor. 220 

Portia. Let not that doctor e'er come near my 


Since he hath got the jewel that I lov'd, 
And that which you did swear to keep for me, 
I will become as liberal as you ; 
I '11 not deny him any thing I have. 

Antonio. I am the unhappy subject of these quarrels. 

Portia. Sir, grieve not you ; you are welcome not- 

Bassanio. Portia, forgive me this enforced wrong ; 
And, in the hearing of these many friends, 

Scene I] The Merchant of Venice 139 

^ .-.'-..:'"'" 

I swear to thee, even by thine own fair eyes, 230 

Wherein I see myself, 

Portia. Mark you but that ! 

In both my eyes he doubly sees himself ; 
In each eye, one ! Swear by your double self, 
And there 's an oath of credit. 

Bassanio. Nay, but hear me : 

Pardon this fault, and by my soul I swear 
I never more will break an oath with thee. 

Antonio. I once did lend my body for his wealth, 
Which, but for him that had your husband's ring, 
Had quite miscarried ; I dare be bound again, 
My soul upon the forfeit, that your lord , 240 

Will never more break faith advisedly. 

Portia. Then you shall be his surety. Give him this, 
And bid him keep it better than the other. 

Antonio. Here, lord Bassanio ; swear to keep this ring. 

Bassanio. By heaven, it is the same I gave the doctor! 

Portia. You are all amaz'd. 
Here is a letter, read it at your leisure ; l 
It comes from Padua, from Bellario. 
There you shall find that Portia was the doctor, 
Nerissa there her clerk. Lorenzo here 250 

Shall witness I set forth as soon as you, 
And even but now re turn 'd ; I have not yet 
Enter'd my house. Antonio, you are welcome ; 
And I have better news in store for you 
Than yon expect. Unseal this letter soon ; 
There you shall find, three of your argosies 

140 The Merchant of Venice [Act V 

Are richly come to harbour suddenly. 

You shall not know by what strange accident 

I chanced on this letter. 

Antonio. Sweet lady, you have given me life and 
living ; 26* 

For here I read for certain that my ships 
Are safely come to road. 

Portia. How now, Lorenzo ? 

My clerk hath some good comforts too for you. 

Nerissa. Ay, and I '11 give them him without a fee. 
There do I give to you and Jessica, 
From the rich Jew, a special deed of gift, 
After his death, of all he dies possess'd of. 

Lorenzo. Fair ladies, you drop manna in the way 
Of starved people. 

Portia. It is almost morning, 

And yet I am sure you are not satisfied 270 

Of these events at full. Let us go in ; 
And charge us there upon inter'gatories, 
And we will answer all things faithfully, \Exeunt* 






THE METRE OF THE PLAY. It should be understood at the 
outset that metre, or the mechanism of verse, is something alto- 
gether distinct from the music of verse. The one is matter of rule, 
the other of taste and feeling. Music is not an absolute necessity 
of verse; the metrical form is a necessity, being that which consti- 
tutes the verse. 

The plays of Shakespeare (with the exception of rhymed pas- 
sages, and of occasional songs and interludes) are all in unrhymed 
or blank verse; and the normal form of this blank verse is illus- 
trated by the first line of the present play : " In sooth, I know not 
why I am so sad." 

144 Notes 

This line, it will be seen, consists of ten syllables, with the even 
syllables (2d, 4th, 6th, 8th, and loth) accented, the odd syllables 
(ist, 3d, etc.) being unaccented. Theoretically, it is made up of 
five feet of two syllables each, with the accent on the second sylla- 
ble. Such a foot is called an iambus (plural, iambuses, or the 
Latin iambi}, and the form of verse is called iambic. 

This fundamental law of Shakespeare's verse is subject to certain 
modifications, the most important of which are as follows : 

1. After the tenth syllable an unaccented syllable (or even two 
such syllables) may be added, forming what is sometimes called a 
female line; as in the third line of the first scene: "But how I 
caught it, found it, or came by it." The rhythm is complete with 
by, the it being an extra eleventh syllable. In line 69, we have two 
extra syllables, the rhythm being complete with the second syllable 
of Antonio. 

2. The accent in any part of the verse may be shifted from an 
even to an odd syllable; as in lines 18, 19 : 

" Plucking the grass, to know where sits the wind, 
Peering in maps for ports and piers and roads." 

In both lines the accent is shifted from the second to the first syl- 
lable. This change occurs very rarely in the tenth syllable, and 
seldom in the fourth; and it is not allowable in two successive 
accented syllables. 

3. An extra unaccented syllable may occur in any part of the 
line; as in lines 29, 47, and 48. In 29 the second syllable of burial 
is superfluous; in 47 the word us ; and in 48 the second syllable of 
merry. Line 48 has also the unaccented final syllable in easy, 
making it a female line. 

4. Any unaccented syllable, occurring in an even place immedi- 
ately before or after an even syllable which is properly accented, is 
reckoned as accented for the purposes. of the verse; as, for instance, 
in lines 12 and 13. In 12 the first syllable of overpeer and the last 
of traffickers are metrically equivalent to accented syllables ; and so 

Notes 145 

with the last syllable of reverence in 13. Other examples are the 
last syllable of Antonio in lines 39, 73, 122, and 130, and that of 
Portia in 166. In 166 Portia must be made distinctly a trisyllable 
(as in ii. 7. 43 and 47), but in 165 (as often) it is virtually a dis- 

5. In many instances in Shakespeare words must be lengthened 
in order to fill out the rhythm : 

(a) In a large class of words in which e or i is followed by 
another vowel, the e or i is made a separate syllable; as ocean, 
opinion, soldier, patience, partial, marriage, etc. For instance, 
line 8 of the first scene of the present play appears to have only 
nine syllables, but ocean (see note on the word) is a trisyllable. 
In 102 opinion is a quadrisyllable (but a trisyllable in 91) ; occasions 
has five syllables in 139; and many similar instances are mentioned 
in the Notes. This lengthening occurs most frequently at the end 
of the line. 

(b) Many monosyllables ending in r, re, rs, res, preceded by a 
long vowel or diphthong, are often made dissyllables; as fare, fear, 
dear, fire, hair, hour, your, etc. In iii. 2. 297 : " Shall lose a hair 
through Bassanio's fault," hair is a dissyllable. If the word is 
repeated in averse it is often both monosyllable and dissyllable; 
as in iii. 2. 20 : " And so, though yours, not yours. Prove it so," 
where either yours (preferably the first) is a dissyllable, the other 
being a monosyllable. In/. C. iii. i. 172: "As fire drives out fire, 
so pity, pity," the first fire is a dissyllable. 

(<:) Words containing / or r, preceded by another consonant, are 
often pronounced as if a vowel ca.vie between the consonants; as 
in T. of S. if. i. 158: "While she did call me rascal fiddler" [fid- 
d(e)ler]; AWs Well, iii. 5. 43: " If you will tarry, holy pilgrim" 
[pilg(e)rim]; C. of E. v. i. 360: "These are the parents of these 
children " [childeren, the original form of the word] ; W. T. iv. 
4. 76: "Grace and remembrance [rememb(e) ranee] be to you 
both ! " etc. 

(d) Monosyllabic exclamations (ay, O, yea, nay, hail, etc.) and 

146 Notes 

monosyllables otherwise emphasized are similarly lengthened ; also 
certain longer words; as commandement in the present play (iv. i. 
444) ; safety (trisyllable) in Ham. i. 3. 21 ; business (trisyllable, as 
originally pronounced) in J. C. iv. I. 22: "To groan and sweat 
under the business " (so in several other passages) ; and other 
words mentioned in the notes to the plays in which they occur. 

6. Words are also contracted for metrical reasons, like plurals 
and possessives ending in a sibilant, as balance (see note on iv. I. 
248), horse (for horses and horse's}, princess, sense, marriage (plural 
and possessive), image, etc. So spirit (see note on ii. 2. 189), 
inter* gatories (see on v. I. 272), unpleasant' } st (see on iii. 2. 246), 
and other words mentioned in the notes on this and other plays. 

7. The accent of words is also varied in many instances for met- 
rical reasons. Thus we find both revenue and revemie in the first 
scene of the M. N. D. (lines 6 and 158), obscure (see note on ii. 7. 
51) and obscure, pursue (see on iv. I. 291) and pursue, distinct (SZQ 
on ii. 9. 60) and distinct, etc. 

These instances of variable accent must not be confounded with 
those in which words were uniformly accented differently in the 
time of Shakespeare;^ like aspect (see on i. I. 54), impdrtune, per- 
sever (never persevere], perseverance, rheumatic, etc. 

8. Alexandrines, or verses of twelve syllables, with ,six accents, 
occur here and there; as in the inscriptions on the caskets (and a 
few' other instances) in this play. They must not be confounded 
with female lines with two extra syllables (see on I above) or with 
other lines in which two extra unaccented syllables may occur. 

9. Incomplete verses, of on^ or more syllables, are scattered 
through the plays. See note on i. i . 5 of this play. 

10. Doggerel measure (i. iViii and the last line of i. 2 in this 
play) is used in the very earliest comedies (Z. L. L. and C. of E. 
in particular) in the mouths of comic characters, but nowhere eh 
in those plays, and never anywhere after the date of the Merchant. 

11. Rhyme occurs frequently in the early plays, but diminishes 
with comparative regularity from that period until the latest. Thus, 

Notes 147 

in L. Z. L. there are about 1 100 rhyming verses (about one-third 
of the whole number), in the M. N. D. about 900, in Rich. II. 
and R. and J. about 500 each, while in Cor. and A. and C. there are 
only about 40 each, in the Temp, only two, and in the W. T. none 
at all, except in the chorus introducing act iv. Songs, interludes, 
and other matter not in ten-syllable measure are not included in 
this enumeration. In the present play, out of some 2000 verses, 
less than a hundred are in rhyme. 

Alternate rhymes are found only in the plays written before 1599 
or 1600. In the Merchant there are only four lines at the end 
of iii. 2. In Much Ado and A. Y. L. we also find a few lines, but 
none at all in subsequent plays. 

Rhymed couplets, or " rhyme-tags," are often found at the end of 
Scenes; as in the first scene, and twelve other scenes, of the present 
play. In Ham., 14 out of 20 scenes, and in Macb., 21 out of 28, 
have such "tags"; but in the latest plays they are not so frequent. 
The Temp., for instance, has but one, and the W. T. none. 

This is a subject to which the critics have given very little atten- 
tion, but it is an interesting study. In the Merchant we find 
scenes entirely in verse or in prose, and others in which the two are 
mixed. In general, we may say that verse is used for what is dis- 
tinctly poetical, and prose for what is not poetical. The distinction, 
however, is not so clearly marked in the earlier as in the later 
plays. The second scene of the Merchant, for instance, is in prose, 
because Portia and Nerissa are talking about the suitors in a familiar 
and playful way; but in the T. G. of V., where Julia and Lucetta 
are discussing the suitors of the former in much the same fashion, 
the scene is all in verse. Dowden, commenting on Rich. //., 
remarks : " Had Shakespeare written the play a few years later, we 
may be certain that the gardener and his servants (iii. 4) would 
not have uttered stately speeches in verse, but would have spoken 
homely prose, and that humour would have mingled with the 
pathos of the scene. The same remark may be made with refer- 

148 Notes 

ence to the subsequent scene (v. 5) in which his groom visits the 
dethroned king in the Tower." Comic characters and those in low 
life generally speak in prose in the later plays, as Dowden inti- 
mates, but in the very earliest ones doggerel verse is much used 
instead. See on 10 above. 

The change from prose to verse is well illustrated in the third 
scene of the Merchant. It begins with plain prosaic talk about a 
business matter; but when Antonio enters, it rises at once to the 
higher level of poetry. The sight of Antonio reminds Shylock of 
his hatred of the Merchant, and the passion expresses itself in verse, 
the vernacular tongue of poetry. We have a similar change in 
the first scene of J. C, where, after the quibbling " chaff " of the 
mechanics about their trades, the mention of Pompey reminds the 
Tribune of, their plebeian fickleness, and his scorn and indignation 
flame out in most eloquent verse. 

The reasons for the choice of prose or verse are not always so 
clear as in these instances. We are seldom puzzled to explain the 
prose, but not unfrequently we meet with verse where we might 
expect prose. As Professor Corson remarks (Introduction to Shake- 
spear e, 1889), " Shakespeare adopted verse as the general tenor of 
his language, and therefore expressed much in verse that is within 
the capabilities of prose; in other words, his verse constantly 
encroaches upon the domain of prose, but his prose can never be 
said to encroach upon the domain of verse." If in rare instances 
we think we find exceptions to this latter statement, and prose 
actually seems to usurp the place of verse, I believe that careful 
study of the passage will prove the supposed exception to be appar- 
ent rather than real. 

the many books that might be commended to the teacher and the 
critical student are the following: Halliwell-Phillipps's Outlines 
of the Life of Shakespeare (yth ed. 1887); Sidney Lee's Life of 
Shakespeare (1898; for ordinary students the abridged ed. of 1899 
is preferable); Schmidt's Shakespeare Lexicon (3d ed. 1902); 

Notes 149 

Littledale's ed. of Dyce's Glossary (1902); Bartlett's Concordance 
to Shakespeare (1895); Abbott's Shakespearian Grammar (1873); 
Furness's "New Variorum " ed. of The Merchant of Venice (1888, 
encyclopaedic and exhaustive) ; Dowden's Shakspere : His Mind and 
Art (American ed. 1881); Hudson's Life, Art, and Characters of 
Shakespeare (revised ed. 1882); Mrs. Jameson's Characteristics of 
Women (several eds., some with the title, Shakespeare Heroines} ; 
Ten Brink's Five lectures on Shakespeare (1895); Boas's Shake- 
speare and His Predecessors (1895); Dyer's Folk-lore of Shake- 
speare (American ed. 1884); Gervinus's Shakespeare Commentaries 
(Bunnett's translation, 1875); Wordsworth's Shakespeare's Knowl- 
edge of the Bible (3d ed. 1880); Elson's Shakespeare in Music 

Some of the above books will be useful to all readers who are 
interested in special subjects or in general criticism of Shakespeare. 
Among those which are better suited to the needs of ordinary 
readers and students, the following may be mentioned : Phin's 
Cyclopedia and Glossary of Shakespeare (1902, more compact and 
cheaper than Dyce); Dowden's Shakspere Primer (1877, small 
but invaluable); Rolfe's Shakespeare the Boy (1896, treating of 
the home and school life, the games and sports, the manners, 
customs, and folk-lore of the poet's time) ; Guerber's Myths of 
Greece and Rome (for young students who may need information 
on mythological allusions not explained in the notes). 

Black's Judith Shakespeare (1884, a novel, but a careful study 
of the scene and the time) is a book that I always commend to 
young people, and their elders will also enjoy it. The Lambs' 
Tales from Shakespeare is a classic for beginners in the study of 
the dramatist ; and in Rolfe's ed. the plan of the authors is carried 
out in the Notes by copious illustrative quotations from the plays. 
Mrs. Cowden-Clarke's Girlhood of Shakespeare's Heroines (several 
eds.) will particularly interest girls ; and both girls and boys will 
find Bennett's Master Skylark (1897) and Imogen Clark's Will 
Shakespeare's Little Lad (1897) equally entertaining and instructive. 

1 50 Notes [Act I 

H. Snowden Ward's Shakespeare's Town and Times (1896) and 
John Leyland's Shakespeare Country (1900) are copiously illus- 
trated books (yet inexpensive) which may be particularly com- 
mended for school libraries. 

It is proper to add that certain books specially useful in the 
study of other plays than the Merchant are not included in the above 

ABBREVIATIONS IN THE NOTES. -The abbreviations of the 
names of Shakespeare's plays will be readily understood ; as 
T. N. for Twelfth Night, Cor. for Coriolanus, 3 Hen. VI. for 
The 7^hird Part of King Henry the Sixth, etc. P. P. refers to 
The Passionate Pilgrim; V. and A. to Venus and Adonis ; L. C. 
to Lover's Complaint ; and Sonn. to the Sonnets. 

Other abbreviations that hardly need explanation are Cf. (confer, 
compare), Fol. (following), Id. (idem, the same), and Prol. (pro- 
logue). The numbers of the lines in the references (except for the 
present play) are those of the " Globe " edition (the cheapest and 
best edition of Shakespeare in one compact volume), which is now 
generally accepted as the standard for line numbers in works of ref- 
erence (Schmidt's Lexicon, Abbott's Grammar, Dowden's Primer^ 
the publications of the New Shakspere Society, etc.). 


SCENE I. In the first folio the play is divided into acts, but 
not into scenes, and there is no list of dramatis persona* The 
quartos have no such list, and no division at all. 

This scene, like many in this play (i. 3, ii. I, 3, 4, 5, 8, etc.) and 
others, begins abruptly, the dialogue being already in progress. 
Here Antonio's friends have evidently been trying to find out why 
he is so melancholy. He says that he cannot explain it himself; 

Scene I] Notes 151 

and the critics are puzzled by it. For myself, I have no doubt that 
it is due to an indefinable presentiment of coming misfortune. 
Shakespeare, whether he believed in such premonitions or not, 
understood their dramatic value and often introduces them most 
effectively. It has been objected, in the present instance, that 
" this play is not a tragedy, but a comedy, wherein a tragic keynote 
would be falsely struck.'^ But it comes perilously near proving a 
tragedy. Antonio suffers all the pangs of death except the last and 
least, and the shadow of that impending sorrow may already rest 
upon him. No other explanation of the passage that has been 
suggested seems to me so simple and satisfactory. 

i. In sooth. In truth. The word sooth, which survives in sooth- 
sayer (teller of hidden truth), seldom occurs in Shakespeare except 
in asseverations, like in sooth, in good sooth, good sooth (as in ii. 6. 42 
below), etc. 

5. I am to learn. I have yet to find out. These imperfect lines 
are not uncommon in the plays. 

8. On the ocean. Ocean here is a trisyllable ; as in 2 Hen. IV. 
iii. I. 50: "The beachy girdle of the ocean." Final syllables 
containing e or i followed by another vowel are often thus length- 
ened by Elizabethan and later poets. Cf. opinion, in line 102 
below; complexion in ii. I. I; intermission in iii. 2. 199; descrip- 
tion in iii. 2. 296; imposition in iii. 4. 33; and other instances in 
the present play. Such words are often emphatic, and the length- 
ening adds to the emphasis; as in ocean, complexion, etc. 

9. Argosies. Merchant vessels, large for that day, though not 
exceeding 200 tons. The word (formerly supposed to be from the 
classical Argo) is from Ragnsa, a port in Dalmatia, as the old forms, 
ragosie, rhaguse, ragusye, etc., indicate. 

II. Pageants. The word in S. means usually a theatrical exhibi- 
tion, literal or figurative. Originally it meant, the movable theatres 
to which Dugdale {Antiquities of Warwickshire, 1656), in his 
description of the old plays at Coventry, refers as " theatres for the 
principal scenes, very large and high, placed upon wheels, and 

152 Notes [Act l 

drawn to all the eminent parts of the city for the better advantage 
of spectators." 

12. Overpeer. Tower above; as in 3 Hen. VI. v. 2. 14: " Whose 
top-branch overpeer'd Jove's spreading tree." 

13. Curtsy. The same word as courtesy ; used of both sexes in 
this sense. 

15. Venture. Still used in this commercial sense. Forth = 

17. Still. Ever, constantly, as in 136 below. On plucking the 
grass, etc., Ascham (Toxophilus) frequently refers to holding up 
" a fether or a lytle lyght grasse," to learn " how the wynd stoode," 
as boys sometimes do nowadays. 

27. My wealthy Andrew. My richly freighted ship. Some sup- 
pose the name to be taken from that of the famous Genoese admiral, 
Andrea Doria, who died 1560. 

28. Vailing. Lowering. Cf. " Vail your regard " ( = let fall 
your look), M. for M. v. I. 20, etc. The word is contracted from 
avail or avale, the French avaler (from Latin ad valient). Editors 
and critics have sometimes confounded it with veil. 

29. Her burial. That is, her burial place. 

35. But even now worth this. The force of this (= all this, so 
much) was doubtless meant to be expressed by a gesture -^ perhaps 
a sweep of the right arm. Cf. /. C. iv. 3. 26 : " For so much trash 
as may be grasped thus " ; where thus is explained by closing the 
hand as if to hold the money. 

40. To think upon. From thinking upon. 

42. Bottom. This word, like venture, is still used in commerce 
in the same sense as here. Cf. K. John, ii. I. 73 : "the English 

50. Two-headed Janus. In some of the ancient images of Janus 
a grave face was associated with a laughing one. 

52. Peep through their eyes. That is, eyes half shut with laughter. 

54. Other of such vinegar aspect. Other is often plural in S. and 
pther writers of the time. Aspect is always accented on the last 

Scene I] 


syllable by S. and his contemporaries. Cf. Spenser, F. Q. i. 12. 23 : 
"Most ugly shapes, and horrible aspects; " Milton, P. L. iii. 266: 
" His words here ended, but his meek aspect," etc. 

56. Nestor. The oldest of the Greek heroes in the Iliad, famed 
for his wisdom and 
gravity. See T. and 
C. t in which he is a 

61. Prevented. 
In its primitive sense 
of anticipated. Cf. 
Ham. ii. 2. 305, etc.; 
also Psalms, cxix. 
147, and I Thessa- 

62-64. Your 

worth, etc. This 
speech is character- 
istic of Antonio. He 
takes Salarino's con- 
ventional compli- 
ment to his friends 
too seriously. 

67. Exceeding 
strange. S. often TWO-HEADED JANUS 

uses exceeding as an 

adverb. He uses exceedingly only five times in four of which it 
modifies the adverb well, while in the fifth it modifies an adjective 
understood. Exceeding strange = our expression, " very much of a 

74. Respect upon the world. Regard for the world. 

78. A stage. Cf. the famous passage, " All the world's a stage," 
A. Y. L. ii. 7. 139 fol. 

79. Let me play the fool. Let the part assigned to me be that of 

1 54' Notes [Act l 

the fool, who was always one of the characters in the old come- 
dies. Cf. 2 Hen. IV. ii. 2. 154 : "thus we play the fools with the 

80. Old wrinkles. The wrinkles of age. 

81. Liver. Cf. A. and C. ii. I. 23 : "I had rather heat my live* 
with drinking." 

82. Than my heart cool, etc. There may be an allusion here to 
the old belief that every sigh or groan robbed the heart of a drop 
of blood. Cf. M. N. D. iii. 2. 97 : " Sighs of love that costs the 
fresh blood dear." 

84. Alabaster. All the early eds. have " alablaster," the more 
common spelling in that day. 

85. Creep into the jaundice. In the only other passage in which 
S. mentions the jaundice, the cause of the disease is, as here, a 
mental one. See T. and C. i. 3. 2. 

89. Do cream and mantle. Cf. Lear, iii. 4. 139: "the green 
mantle of the standing pool." 

90. And do a wilful stillness entertain. And who do maintain 
an obstinate silence. This kind of ellipsis is not uncommon when 
the sense is clear. 

91. Opinion of wisdom. Reputation for wisdom. Opinion is 
here a trisyllable, but a quadrisyllable in 102 below. 

92. Conceit. Intellect; as often. 

93. As who should say. Like one who should say. The early 
folios read, " I am sir an Oracle," which some editors prefer; but 
cf. " Sir Prudence " ( Temp. ii. I. 286), " Sir Smile " ( W. T. i. 2. , 
196), etc. 

96. That therefore only are reputed wise, etc. That are reputed 
wise only on this account, that they say nothing. Pope calls silence 
" Thou varnisher of fools, and cheat of all the wise." 

98. Would almost, etc. That is, they would; an ellipsis of the 
nomina'ive, as in 90 above. The meaning is that the hearers could 
hardly help calling them fools, and thus exposing themselves to 
the judgment threatened in Scripture {Matthew t v. 22). 

Scene I] Notes 155 

101. This melancholy bait. This bait of melancholy; this melan- 
choly as a bait. 

102. Fool gudgeon. Old Izaak Walton says of the gudgeon : 
" It is an excellent fish to enter (initiate) a young angler, being 
easy to be taken." On the adjective use oifool, cf. " fool multitude," 
ii. 9. 25 below. 

108. Moe. More; used only with a plural or collective noun. 

no. For this gear. For this purpose, or matter; an expression 
sometimes used, as here, without very definite meaning. 

1 1 6. You shall seek all day. Shall and should are often used 
in all three persons, by the Elizabethan writers, to denote mere 

124. By something shoiving. This adverbial use of something 
(= somewhat), which occurs twice in this speech, is common in S. 

More swelling port. Grander state. Cf. "greatest port," iii. 2. 
276 below. 

125. Would grant continuance. That is, continuance of. Such 
ellipsis is common in the Elizabethan writers. Cf. ii. 6. 9 and iv. I. 
380 below. 

1 26. Make moan to be abridged. Complain that I am curtailed. 
Cf. " made moan to me," iii. 3. 23 below. 

129. My time. My time of life, my youth. 

130. Gag*d. Engaged, bound. 

136. Still. See on 17 above. 

137. Within the eye of honour. Within the range of what can 
be viewed (or regarded) as honourable. 

139. Occasions. Needs; here a quadrisyllable. See on 8 

141. Flight. A technical term to denote the range of an arrow. 
Cf. Ascham's Toxophihis : " You must have divers shafts of one 
flight, feathered with divers wings, for divers winds." His = its t 
which was then just coming into use. See on iii. 2. 82 below. 

142. More advised. More careful. Cf. the modern use of un- 

1 5 6 

Notes [Act i 

143. To find the other forth. To find uhe other out. Cf. " to 
find his fellow forth," C. of E. i. 2. 37. 

144. Childhood proof. Experiment of my childhood. 

146. Like a 'wilful youth. Elliptical for " like what will happen 
with a wilful (that is, wilful in his prodigality) youth." 

148. That self way. That same way. Cf. "this self place," 
3 Hen. VI. iii. I. ii; "that self mould," Rich. II. i. 2. 23, etc. 

154. Circumstance. Circumlocution; as in Ham. i. 5. 127, etc. 

156. In making question, etc. In doubting my readiness to do 
all that I can for you. 

1 60. Prest. Ready; the old French prest (now pref), Italian 
and Spanish presto, from Latin adv. prasto, through the late Latin 

161. Jtichty left. Left rich. Cf. v. i. 257: "richly come to 

162. And, fairer than that word. Some take this as connected 
with what precedes and emphasizing fair; but it is clearly con- 
nected with what follows. Bassanio places her beauty above her 
wealth, and her virtues above her beauty. He had been acquainted 
with Portia in her father's time (i. 2. 112), before she came into her 
fortune, and began to love her then; and, as we see later, he did 
not misinterpret the " fair speechless messages " of her eyes. Lady 
Martin (Some of Shakespeare 1 s Female Characters], commenting on 
the opening lines of the next scene, remarks : " Often, no doubt 
has she wondered why he has not presented himself among her 
suitors. Unconsciously, perhaps, the languor of hope deferred 
speaks in these first words we hear from her. The one whom she 
thought might possibly have been among the first comers comes 
not at all." 

163. Sometimes. In time past, formerly. Sometimes and some- 
time are used interchangeably by S. in this and their other senses. 

165- Nothing undervalued. Nowise inferior. Cf. ii. 7. 53 below. 
1 66. Brutus' Portia. See J. C., in which this "woman well 
reputed, Cato's daughter," is a prominent character. 

Scene II] Notes 157 

170. Like a golden fleece, etc. The Argonautic expedition is 
Alluded to again, iii. 2. 236 below : " We are the Jasons, we have 
won the fleece." 

175. I have a mind presages. That is, which presages. See on 
90 above. 

Thrift. Success. Cf. " well- won thrift " and " thrift is blessing," 
i. 3. 50, 86 below. 

177, 178. All my fortunes are at sea, etc. This is not strictly 
consistent with 42-44 above; but S. is often careless in these 
minor matters. 

Commodity. Property. In iii. 3. 27 below the word is used in 
the obsolete sense of advantage or gain. Cf. IV. T. iii. 2. 94: "To 
me can life be no commodity." 

183. Presently. Immediately. Cf. Temp. iv. I. 42: "Ariel. 
Presently? Prosper o. Ay, with a twink;" and again, v. I. 101 : 
" Prospcro. And presently, I prithee. Ariel. I drink the air before 
me, and return Or ere your pulse beat twice." See also I Samuel, 
ii. 1 6, and Matthew, xxvi. 53. 

185. To have it of my trust, etc. Of obtaining it either on my 
credit as a merchant, or as a personal favour. 

Note the rhyme in the last couplet, as often at the close of a scene. 

SCENE II. 2. Aweary. A poetical form of weary, but occa- 
sionally used in prose, as here. 

7. // is no mean happiness. So in the quartos. The folios have 
"no small happiness." The repetition is in Shakespeare's manner. 

8. Superfluity comes sooner by white hairs. The rich are more 
likely to " live fast " and become prematurely old, and therefore to 
die the sooner. 

26. Nor refuse none. This old double negative is common in S., 
and occasionally we find a triple one; as in T. N. iii. I. 171 : "nor 
never none," etc. 

32. But one who you shall rightly love. Who is the object, not 
the subject, of love, as appears from the question which follows : 

i 5 8 



What affection have you for any of the suitors that are alreaa 
come ? Who for whom is not unusual in the writers of the time. 
Cf. ii. 6. 30 below. 

36. I pray thee, over-name them, etc. The dialogue that follows 
is an elaboration of the scene between Julia and Lucetta in T. G. 
of V. i. 2. 

38. Level at. Aim at, guess. Cf. 2 Hen. IV. iii. 2. 286 : "the 
foeman may with as great aim level at the edge of a penknife." 

41. Makes it a great appropriation, etc. That is, takes gre 
credit to himself for it. S. nowhere else uses either appropriatio 
or appropriate. 

44. For county count, see R. and / (where it occurs eleven 
times), A. W. iii. 7. 22, etc. 

46. An you will not. The folio has "And you." And or an 
for if is very common in old writers, as well as and if or an if. 
Choose ; that is, choose where you will; I don't care. 

47. The weeping philosopher. Heracleitus, of Ephesus, who, fron 
his melancholy disposition, is represented in various old traditions 
as the contrast to Democritus (" the laughing philosopher "), weep 
ing over the frailties and follies at which the latter laughed. 

49. / had rather to be married. Had rather and had better ar< 
good English, though many writers of grammars tell us that 
should say would rather, etc., instead. Rather is the comparative 
of rath (see Milton, Lycidas : "the rath primrose"), and is often 
found in the old writers in the sense of earlier, sooner. Thu 
Spenser, Shep. Kal. Feb., speaks of "the rather lambes." For to 
after had rather, cf. Oth. i. 3. 191 : "I had rather to adopt 
child," etc. 

53. How say you by, etc. By here, as not unfrequently = abou 
or concerning. Cf. ii. 9. 24 : " may be meant By the fool multi- 
tude." So Latimer (Serm.) : " How think you by the ceremo 
nies," etc. 

71. Proper. Comely, good-looking ; as often. Cf. Hebrnvs, xi. 
23 : "a proper child," etc. 

Scene II] Notes 1 59 

73. Suited. Dressed. Cf. "richly suited," A. W.\. I. 170, etc. 

Doublet. " The doublet (so called from being originally lined or 
wadded for defence) was a close-fitting coat, with skirts reaching a 
little below the girdle." The " round hose " were coverings for the 
legs, not the feet " trowsers or breeches, reaching to the knee." 
The phrase " doublet and hose," as equivalent to " coat and 
breeches," occurs often in S. Bonnet, originally the name of a stuff, 
came to be applied to the man's cap made of it, as it still is in 

76. The Scottish lord. The Scottish of the quartos, printed before 
the accession of James I., was changed to other in the folio of 1623, 
to avoid giving offence to that monarch. 

82. Sealed under for another. Became surety for another box 
on the ear. The whole passage is ironical. The Scotchman is toe 
cowardly to return the blow, and the Frenchman offers to do it for 

92. You should refuse. Should is often thus used by S. where we 
should use would. Cf. iii. 2. 267 below. 

104. Some other sort. Some other way. Imposition = condition 
imposed. In iii. 4. 33 the word is used again in this literal sense of 
something " laid upon " one as a burden or duty. 

106. Sibylla. Here used as a proper name, like " Sibyl " in T. of 
S. i. 2. 70. So Bacon, in Colours of Good and Evil, 10, speaks of 
" Sybilla, when she brought her three books." The reference here 
is 'to the Cumaean Sibyl, who, according to Ovid, obtained from 
Apollo a promise that her years should be as many as the grains of 
sand she was holding in her hand. 

108. This parcel of wooers. Cf. " This youthful parcel of noble 
bachelors," A. W. ii. 3. 58. 

123. The four strangers. There were six of them. Perhaps two 
were added after the first draft of the play ; or, quite as likely, it is 
another illustration of S.'s carelessness. See on i. I. 177, 178. 

127. With so good heart as, etc. We now seldom use so . . . as, 
preferring as . . . as 9 except where so requires special emphasis. 

160 Notes [Act I 

129. Condition. Nature, disposition. Cf. Oth. ii. I. 255 : "she's 
full of most blessed condition." Cf. also " best conditioned," iii, 2. 
288 below. 

1 33> Whiles. The genitive singular of while (which was origi- 
nally a noun) used as an adverb. It occurs in Matthew, v. 25. 

SCENE III. I. Ducats. The value of the Venetian silver ducat 
was about that of the American dollar. 

4. For the which. This archaism is occasionally found in S., as 
in the Bible (Genesis, i. 29, etc.). 

7. May you stead me ? Can you assist me ? May originally 
expressed ability, as the noun might still does. Can, on the other 
hand, signified " to know or have skill." On stead, cf. M. for M. 
i. 4. 1 7 : " Can you so stead me As bring me to the sight of 

Pleasure me. So in M. W. i. I. 251 : " What I do is to pleasure 
you, coz." 

12. A good man. That is, "good" in the commercial sense 
" having pecuniary ability ; of unimpaired credit." 

17. In supposition. Doubtful, risked at sea. 

1 8. Tripolis. The old name of Tripoli, a seaport of Syria, for- 
merly of great commercial importance. Some take it to be the port 
of the same name in Barbary ; but this would seem to be disproved 
by the mention of both Tripolis and Barbary in iii. 2. 263, 264. 
The mention of Mexico in both passages is a slip noted by Karl 
Elze, as Venice does not appear to have had any trade with that 

20. Rialto. The chief of the islands on which Venice was built. 
See p. 28 above. The name is from rivo (or rio) alto, deep stream ; 
not, as often stated, from riva alta, high bank. Rivo alto is some- 
times wrongly translated as " high shore " or " high bank." Some 
editors also err in saying that the present bridge is not the one 
built in 1588-91. It took the place of an earlier wooden bridge, 
but has never been rebuilt. 

Scene III] Notes l6l 

21. Squandered. Scattered. So in Howell's Letters, 1650, we 
have " islands that lie squandered in the vast ocean." S. uses the 
word only here and in A. Y. L. ii. 7. 57: "squandering glance's." 

22. There be land-rats. In old English, besides the present 
tense am, etc., there was also this form be, from the Anglo-Saxon 
beon. The 2d pers. sing, was beest. The 1st and 3d pers. plu. be is 
often found in S. and the Bible. 

32. If it please you. This impersonal form (cf. the French s>il 
vous plait}, after being contracted into if you please, has come to 
be considered as personal, and we now say if I please, if he pleases, 

34. Nazarite. In the time of S. confounded with Nazarene. 
For Nazarite in the proper sense, see Numbers, vi. 

36. And so following. And so forth. S. uses the phrase nowhere 

41. Publican. Probably a tax-collector, not an innkeeper. Some 
critics consider fawning inconsistent with the former sense ; but 
the publicans, while arrogant to inferiors, might find it politic to fawn 
upon their superiors. 

42. For he is a Christian. We should now say, for being a 
Christian. When thus used, for is often followed by that, as in the 
next line. Of course we could now say, " I hate him, for he is a 
Christian," but the meaning would be different. In this case, as in 
the other, the for is equivalent to because, but it connects more 
loosely, as the comma indicates. The difference in meaning is 
perhaps better illustrated by a case like the following ( M. for M. 

" You may not so extenuate his offence 
For I have had such faults ; " 

that is, the fact that I have been guilty is no excuse for him. The 
modern reading would make nonsense of it. 

46. Upon the hip. To " catch upon the hip " was a phrase used 
by wrestlers. Cf. iv. I. 327 below, and Oth. ii. I. 314. 

51. Which he calls interest. Usance, usury, and interest were 


1 62 Notes [Act i 

equivalent terms in S.'s day. It was disreputable to take interest 
at all. It was considered " against nature for money to beget 
money." See Bacon's Essay on Usurie. 

53. Debating of my present store. Of is often used by the 
Elizabethan writers in the sense of about or concerning. Cf. Temp. 
ii. i. 8 1 : " You make me study of that," etc. 

59. Rest you fair. God grant you good fortune ! You is the 
object, not the subject, of rest. Cf. " Rest you merry ! " {R. and J. 
i. 2. 65) and "God rest you merry! " {A. Y. L. v. i. 165). 

62. Excess. More than the sum lent or borrowed; interest. 

63. Ripe wants. Wants that admit of no delay, like ripe fruit 
that must be gathered at once. 

64. Possessed. Informed. Cf. iv. i. 35 below: "I have pos- 
sess'd your grace of what I purpose." The question is addressed 
to Bassanio. 

65. How much you would. Would is often used absolutely, as 
here, for wish or require. 

67. / had forgot. Of course this falsehood is part of Shylock's 
strategy. You told me so is said to Bassanio. 

69. Methought. This thought is from the Anglo-Saxon verb 
thyncan, to seem, and not from thencan, to think. It is used im- 
personally, the me being a dative. Methought = it seemed to me. 

71. When Jacob, etc. See Genesis, xxvii. and xxx. 

74. The third possessor. Jacob may be included, as some sup- 
pose; but it is more likely that Shylock refers to Esau, who had 
been cheated of his heritage by the trickery of his " wise mother." 

78. Were compromised. Had mutually agreed. 

79. Eanlings. Lambs just brought forth; from Anglo-Saxon 
eanian, to bring forth. Yeanling is another form of the same 
word, and was substituted by Pope here. 

Pied. Spotted. We have " daisies pied " in L. L. L. v. 2. 904 
(and in Milton's D ' Allegro} ; and in Temp. iii. 2. 71 Caliban calls 
Trinculo a "pied ninny," from the particoloured coat which he 
wore as a jester. 

Scene III] Notes 1 63 

Si. Piird me. Peeled. Cf. the Bible narrative (Genesis, xxx. 
37, 38). The me is expletive, as often. See the dialogue between 
Petruchio and Grumio in T. of S. i. 2. 8 fol. 

84. Fall. Let fall, bring forth. 

90. Was this inserted, etc. Was this inserted in Scripture to 
justify usury? 

94. The devil can cite Scripture. See Matthew, iv. 4, 6. 

95, Producing holy witness. Adducing sacred authority. 

10 1. beholding. Often used by S., Bacon, and other writers of 
the time, instead of beholden. 

102. Many a time and oft. An old phrase, still familiar. Here 
Shylock, perhaps irritated by Antonio's impatient question, which 
reminds him of the Merchant's arrogant and contemptuous treat- 
ment of him in the past, forgets for the moment the part he is 
playing; but Antonio's angry and scornful reply shows him the 
mistake he has made, and he at once resumes his artfully friendly 

107. Misbeliever. Strictly, one who believes wrongly, as un- 
believer is one who does not believe, or an infidel. S. uses the 
word only here. 

108. Spet. An obsolete spelling of spit, used occasionally by S., 
as it is by Milton in the one instance {Comus, 132) in which he 
employs the word. 

Gaberdine. A long coarse frock. See Temp. ii. 2. 40, 115. 
The garment and the name are still used by the peasantry in some 
parts of England. 

in. Go to. A phrase of exhortation or encouragement, some- 
times used scornfully. Cf. Temp. v. I. 297, etc.; also Genesis, xi. 
4, etc. 

130. A breed of barren metal. Breed is money bred from the 
principal. Shylock had used the same metaphor for interest. Cf. 
Middleton, The Blacke Booke : " coming to repay both the money 
and the breed of it for interest may well be called the usurer's 
bastard," etc. 

164 Notes [Act i 

132. Who if he break. The "relative with a supplementary 
pronoun " often occurs in the writers of the time. Cf. V. and A. 


" Who, when he liv'd, his breath and beauty set 

Gloss on the rose, smell on the violet." 

' If he break? that is, "break his day," fail to fulfil his engage- 
ment. Shylock uses the phrase in 159 below. 

134. I would be friends with you. A " grammatical impropriety," 
but even now a familiar idiom. 

136. Doit. A small Dutch coin, worth about a quarter of a cent. 

141. Your single bond. Your individual bond, without sureties. 

In a merry sport. In the old ballad of Gernutus (see page 24 
above) the Jew says : 

11 But we will haue a merry iest, 

for to be talked long : 
You shall make me a Band (quoth he) 
that shall be large and strong. 

" And this shall be the forfeyture, 

of your own Flesh a pound : 
If you agree, make you the Band, 
and here is a hundred Crownes." 

144. Let the forfeit, etc. Let the forfeit named be an exact 
{equal ) pound of your flesh. 

147. Pleaseth me. That is, " it pleaseth me " (the folio reading). 
See on 32 above. 

151. Dwell. Continue, remain. 

157. Dealings teaches them suspect. According to Abbott ( Gram- 
mar, 333) and others, teaches is an instance of the old Northern 
plural in es, which is sometimes found in Elizabethan writers. 
They also sometimes omit the to of the infinitive (as here in suspect) 
after certain verbs which now require it, and sometimes insert it 
where now it is omitted. 

Scene III] Notes 165 

163. Muttons, beefs. These Norman-French words are here used 
in their original sense. The plural beeves is still used for the living 
animals, and the singular form beeve is occasionally met with. 

165. If he will take it, so. That is, so be it, or something of the 
kind. So was often thus used as a particle of assent or affirmation. 

1 66. For my love. " For love's sake," as we say; or, perhaps, 
"as regards my love," or friendly feeling. 

171. Fearful guard Of an unthrifty knave. Fearful = to be 
feared or distrusted ; untrustworthy. Knave, which meant origi- 
nally only a boy, and now means only a rogue, was in current use in 
S.'s time with either signification. 


SCENE I. The stage direction in the first folio is : " Enter 
Morochus a tawnie Moore all in white, and three or foure followers 
accordingly, with Portia, Nerrissa, and their traine. Flo. Cornets." 

I. Complexion. A quadrisyllable. See on i. 1.8 above. 

6. Let us make incision, etc. Red blood was a traditionary sign 
of courage. Below (iii. 2. 86) Bassanio talks of cowards who " have 
livers white as milk." 

7. Reddest. The use of the superlative in a comparison of two 
objects, though condemned by most of the modern grammars, is 

' good old English. 9 

8. Aspect . . . feared. On the accent of aspect, see on i. I. 54 
above. Feared caused to fear, terrified. In T. of S. i. 2. 211 
we have both senses of fear in close connection : " Petruchio. Tush ! 
tush ! fear boys with bugs. Grumio. For he fears none." 

10. Best-regarded. Of highest estimation. 

12. To steal your thoughts. To gain your love. Thought (both 
in the singular and the plural) not unfrequently refers to love in S., 
and steal is often associated with love, as suggesting its gradual 
and imperceptible development. Cf. v. i. 19 below, for instance. 

1 66 Notes [Act il 

Note, by the way, that Morocco, though he may have come to 
Belmont as a fortune hunter, is honestly enamoured of the lady, as 
this entire speech, and all that he says, clearly prove. It is, indeed, 
his admiration and love for her that lead him to choose the wrong 
casket. Portia understands this, and, true woman that she is, 
shows it in her gentle, half-pitying treatment of him, though she is 
glad, of course, that he fails in the lottery. 
14. Nice direction. Fastidious estimation. 

17. Scanted. Limited, restricted. Cf. iii. 2. 112 below: "Scant 
this excess "; and v. I. 141 : " Scant this breathing courtesy." 

1 8. Wit. In its original sense of foresight, ivisdom, as in the 
familiar expressions, " at his wit's end," " lost his wits," etc. 

20. Yourself. The pronouns myself, thyself, etc., were often used 
in S.'s time (as they still are in poetry) as the subject of a verb. 

Stood as fair. Would have stood. In fair some suspect an 
allusion to the Moor's complexion, but this is not probable. 

25. The Sophy. The Sufi, or Shah of Persia. Cf. T. N. ii. 5. 
197, and iii. 4. 307. Bacon {Essay 43) speaks of " Ismael, the 
Sophy of Persia." 

26. Sultan Solyman. The most famous sultan of this name was 
Solyman the Magnificent, who reigned from 1520 to 1566. 

31. Alas the while ! This expression, like Woe the while ! (J. C. 
i. 3. 82), seems originally to have meant, " Alas for the present state 
of things ! " but it came to be used as indefinitely as the simple alas ! 

32. Hercules and Lichas. Lichaswas the servant who brought 
to Hercules the poisoned tunic from Dejanira. 

Play at dice Which is, etc. That is, in order to decide which is, 
etc. " The Elizabethan writers objected to scarcely any ellipsis, 
provided the deficiency could be easily supplied from the context." 

35. Alcides beaten by his page. Alcides was the original name 
of Hercules, given him on account of his descent from Alcaeus, the 
son of Perseus. 

42. Be advis'd. Consider well, do not decide in haste. Cf* 
advised in. i. I. 142. 

Scene II] Notes 1 67 

43. Nor will not. That is, will not " speak to lady," etc. 

44. The temple. The chapel where the oath was to be taken. 
46. Blest or cursed^st. Blest is an instance of the ellipsis of the 

superlative ending, not unusual at that time. Cf. M. for M. iv. 6. 
13: "The generous and gravest citizens." So Heywood: "Only 
the grave and wisest of the land; " and Ben Jonson: "The soft 
and sweetest music." In iii. 2. 288 we have " The best-conditioned 
and unwearied spirit," where the ellipsis is in the second adjective. 

SCENE II. The stage direction in the early eds. is " Enter the 
flowne alone" 

i. Certainly my conscience will serve, etc. This seems to express 
a hope rather than an assurance that this will be the result of the 
conflict between his conscience and the " fiend." 

7. As aforesaid. From Launcelot's frequent use of legal phrase- 
ology we might infer that he had been in a lawyer's employ before 
he became the servant of Shylock; but the Jew, of course, was 
often engaged in litigation, and Launcelot may have picked up his 
law terms from that source. 

9. Scorn running with thy heels. The play upon heels is obvi- 
ous. Cf. Much Ado, iii. 4. 51 : "I scorn that with my heels." 

10. Via ! Away ! (Italian). Cf. M. W. ii. 2. 159, L. L. L. v. i. 
156, etc. 

11. For the heavens! Mason proposed to change heavens to 
haven, because " it is not likely that S. would make the Devil con- 
jure Launcelot to do anything for Heaven 's sake ; " but obviously 
the wit of the expression consists in that very incongruity. 

19. ' Fiend? say /, * you counsel well. 1 This is the folio reading; 
but some editors prefer that of the quarto, " counsel ill. 91 Launce- 
lot probably says well because he prefers the fiend's advice. 

21. God bless (or save) the mark ! The origin and the meaning 
of this expression are alike obscure. It appears to be used most 
frequently " as a parenthetic apology for some profane or vulgar 

1 68 Notes [Act II 

25. Incarnation. For incarnate, of course. 

31. Enter old Gobbo. The name is Italian for hunchback, and 
Steevens inferred that S. intended the character " to be represented 
with a hump back "; but the name was probably then a family one 
in Italy, as it is now. The Washington Hotel in Florence is now 
(1902) kept by a Gobbo, and I have seen the name in Pisa also. 
For the statue called // Gobbo di Rialto, see p. 34 above. Tourists 
who have been in Verona will recollect another venerable // Gobbo 
which sustains a holy-water basin in the church of Santa Anastasia. 

34. Sand-blind. Dim of sight; as if there were sand in the 
eye, or perhaps floating before it. High-gravel-blind is Launcelot's 
own exaggeration of the word. 

35. Confusions. A blunder for conclusions, which is the reading 
of one of the early quartos. To " try conclusions " (Ham. iii. 4. 
195) was to try experiments. 

41. Marry. A corruption of Mary. It was originally a mode 
of swearing by the Virgin, but its origin had come to be forgotten 
in S.'s day. 

43. God's sonties. Corrupted from God's saints, or sanctities, or 
sante (health) it is impossible to decide which. 

50. No master, sir, etc. Furnivall quotes Sir Thomas Smith's 
Commonwealth of England (ed. 1612) : "As for gentlemen, they be 
made good cheap in England. For whosoeuer studieth the laws of 
the Realm, who studieth in the Uniuersities, who professeth liberall 
Sciences : and to be short, who can liue idely, and without manuall 
labour, and will beare the port, charge and countenance of a Gen- 
tleman, hee shall bee called master, for that is the tytle which men 
giue to Esquires, and other Gentlemen, and shall bee taken for a 

52. Well to live. " With every prospect of a long life." 

53. What a' will. A 1 for he is common in the old dramatists, in 
the mouths of peasants and illiterate people. 

55. Your worship's friend and Launcelot. This has perplexed 
Ihe critics. We might expect " but Launcelot " from an/body 

Scene II] Notes 169 

but Old Gobbo. He seems to mean, " He is your friend, and so 
you treat him as an equal and call him Master, but I call him plain 

57. Talk you of young Master Launcelot? The early eds. make 
this imperative, and not interrogative, and are followed by some 
editors, but the majority are clearly right in regarding it as a 
question. Master is emphatic. 

60. Father. Launcelot twice calls Gobbo father, but the old 
man does not even suspect with whom he is talking, since the 
peasantry used to call all old people father or mother. 

62. The sisters three. The Fates of classic fable. 

87. Your child that shall be. Here some of the critics have been 
mystified by Launcelot's incongruous talk. Malone says, " Launce- 
lot probably here indulges himself in talking nonsense," but he is 
not quite sure about it; and Steevens suggests that he "may mean 
that he shall hereafter prove his claim to the title of child by his 
dutiful behaviour," etc. 

95. Lord worshipped. Perhaps, as some explain it = a lord 
worshipful, referring to the beard and the claim to the title of 
Master ; or Lord worshipped may he be! may be, as Mr. Gum- 
mere suggests, " merely another way of saying ' Lord be praised ! ' '^ 
According to stage tradition, Launcelot kneels with his back to the 
old man, who, " being sand-blind," mistakes the hair on his head 
for a beard. 

97. Fill-horse. Fill for thill, or shaft, is a familiar word in New 
England, but in old England it is not known except as a provin- 
cialism in the Midland counties. We have " i' the fills " in T. and 
C. iii. 2. 48. 

103. Gree. The spelling of all the early eds. 

105. I have set up my rest. That is, I have determined. "A 
metaphor taken from play, where the highest stake the parties were 
disposed to venture was called the rest." The expression occurs 
several times in the plays. 

Iio. Give me your present. See on i. 3. 81 above. 

i yo 


[Act II 

122. Gramercy. A corruption of the French grand merci^ 
"great thanks"; but it was often used as an expression of sur- 
prise, like " mercy on us ! " as if derived from grant mercy. 

132. Cater-cousins. The origin of the word is doubtful, but the 
meaning evidently is, that they do not seem much akin, or do not 

agree very well. 

137. A dish of doves. See p. 31 

148. Preferred thee. To prefer 
often meant to " recommend for 
promotion," and sometimes to 

151. The old proverb. Alluding 
to the Scotch proverb, "The grace 
of God is gear enough." 

157. Guarded. Trimmed, orna- 
mented. The broidered edging 
guarded (protected) the cloth 
from wear. See Hen. VIII. prol. 
1 6 and Much Ado, i. I. 288. 

158. In. Go in; as in C. of 
E. v. i. 37, etc. 

159. Well, if any man, etc. 
The construction is, " Well, if any 
man in Italy which doth offer to 
swear upon a book have a fairer 
table " the expression being like 

After having thus admired his 
As Johnson 


"any man that breathes," etc. 

table, he breaks off to predict his good fortune. 

remarks, " the act of expanding his hand " reminds him of laying 

it on the book in taking an oath. 

In chiromancy, or palmistry, the table line, or line of fortune, is 
the one running from the forefinger below the other fingers to the 
side of the hand. The natural line is the one running through the 

Scene IV] Notes 17 1 

middle of the palm. The line of life is the one which encircles 
the ball of the thumb. The space between the two first is called 
mensa, or the table. 

163. Aleven. A vulgarism for eleven. 

1 68. For this gear. See on i. i. no above. 

172. Bestowed. Put away, disposed of. Cf. 2 Kings , v. 24, etc. 
See also/. C. i. 3. 151, etc. 

182. Hear thee. In this, as in some other expressions (" fare 
thee well," etc.), thee appears to be used for thou, and not reflexively. 

187. Liberal. Free, reckless; but not in so bad a sense as in 
Much Ado, iv. 1.93 ("a liberal villain"), where it means licentious. 

Take pain. We now use only the plural, " take pains." S. 
uses both. See below, v. i. 180. 

189. Thy skipping spirit. Thy frolicsome humour. Cf. Ham. 
Hi. 4. 123: "Upon the heat and flame of thy distemper Sprinkle 
cool patience." Spirit is often a monosyllable, as if pronounced 
sprit (not sprite}. 

198. Studied in a sad ostent. Trained to put on a sober aspect. 
Below (ii. 8. 44) we have " fair ostents (manifestations, tokens) of 

207. / must to Lorenzo. This ellipsis of the verb was common, 
especially after will; as "I '11 to him," R. and J. iii. 2. 141, etc. 

SCENE III. 10. Exhibit. For inhibit (restrain). 

15. What heinous sin. Possibly this is one of the instances in 
which what is used for what a. Cf. /. C. i. 3. 42 : ' What night is 
this ! " But sin may be used in the general sense of sinfulness. 

SCENE IV. 5. We have not spoke us yet of. We have not yet 

6. Quaintly. Tastefully, gracefully. Quaint in the old writers 
means elegant, and hence artful, ingenious. In Johnson's day it 
had come to mean affected, and now it has " the united sense of 
antique and odd" Cf. " quaint lies " below, iii. 4. 69. 

172 Notes [Act ii 

7. Not undertook. We have " undertaken " in W. T. iii. 2. 79, 
and "to be undertook" in Oth. v. 2. 311. S. often uses two or 
more forms of the participle. Thus in J. C. we have stricken, 
struck, and strucken. So we find mistook and mistaken, etc. We 
must bear in mind that the Elizabethan age was a transitional 
period in the history of the language. 

10. Break up. Break open. Break up was a term in carving; 
and in L. L. L. iv. I. 56 we have "break up this capon," where 
the " capon " is a letter. 

13. Writ. S. uses both writ and wrote for the past tense, and 
writ, written, and wrote for the participle. 

23. Provided of. Of is often used of the agent (where we use 
by), and of the instrument (for with), as here. Cf. Macb. i. 2. 13* 
" supplied of kernes," etc. 

26. Some hour. About an hour; as we say some two hours, some 
six months ago, etc. 

29. Needs. Of necessity ; a genitive used adverbially. 

Directed . . . What gold, etc. The ellipsis here is very like what 
is called a zeugma. 

35. Dare. Either the "subjunctive used imperatively" or the 
3d pers. of the imperative. 

37. Faithless. Unbelieving; as in Matthew, xvii. 17. 

SCENE V. 2. Difference of. Cf. Lear, iv. 2. 26 : " O, the differ- 
ence of man and man ! " See also h. I. 361 below. 

3. What, Jessica ! A customary exclamation of impatience, in 
calling to persons; like when ( 7^emp. \. 2. 316, J. C. ii. I. 5, etc.). 

11. Bid forth. Invited out. Cf. " find forth," i. I. 143 above, 
and " feasting forth," 37 below. S. uses bidden only in Much Ado, 
iii. 3. 32. He uses both bade and bid for the past tense. See on 
ii. 5. 7 above. 

17. Towards my rest. Against my peace of mind. To dream 
of money was supposed to be unlucky. 

18. To-night. That is. last night; as in /. C. iii. 3. I : "I 

Scene V] Notes 173 

dream'd to-night that I did feast with Caesar." Usually in S. it has 
its modern meaning. 

21. So do I his. Shylock plays upon Launcelot's blunder of 
reproach for approach. 

25. Black- Monday. Easter Monday; so called, as the old 
chronicler Stowe tells us, because "in the 34th of Edward III. 
(1360), the 1 4th of April, and the morrow after Easter-day, King 
Edward with his host lay before 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." 

30. The wry-neck? d fife. Wry-necked may refer to the fife or to 
the fifer, but the former is more probable, on account of the preced- 
ing drum. Barnaby Rich (1618) says : "A fife is a wry-neckt musi- 
cian, for he always looks away from his instrument." On the other 
hand, the old English fife (like one used in classical times) had a 
bent mouthpiece. It was called the flute a bee, as the mouthpiece 
resembled the beak of a bird. 

36. Jacob's staff. See Genesis, xxxii. 10, and Hebrews, xi. 21. In 
Spenser, F. Q. i. 6. 35, " lacobs staffe " more probably refers to 
St. James (Jacobus), who is usually represented with a pilgrim's 
hat and staff. 

37. Of feasting forth. Of for, as often. See on n above. 
43. Jewess' eye. It is "Jewes" in the quartos and 1st and 2d 

folios, " Jew's " in the later folios. Pope suggested Jewess 1 , which 
has been generally adopted. Launcelot's phrase is a slight altera- 
tion of the proverbial expression, Worth a Jew's eye. The Jews 
were often threatened with the loss of an eye, or some other muti- 
lation, in order to extort treasure from them. 

46. Patch. A name given to the professional jester (from his 
patched or particoloured coat), and afterwards used as a term of 

52. Perhaps I will return. The shade of meaning is such as 
would now be expressed by will "Perhaps I may decide to re- 
turn," or something of the sort. " I shall return " would be future 

174 Notes [Act ii 

pure and simple; "I will return" adds the idea that the possible 
future act depends upon the speaker's will. 

SCENE VI. 5. Venus' pigeons. The chariot of Venus was 
drawn by doves. In Temp. iv. I. 94 she is described as "dove- 
drawn," and her " doves " are also referred to in M. N. D. i. I. 171, 

7. Obliged. Pledged, plighted. 

9. Sits down. That is, sits down with. So in the next sentence, 
"pace them (with)." This ellipsis of a preposition which has 
already been expressed before the relative is quite common in S. 
Cf. below (iv. I. 382) : " A gift of all (of which) he dies possess'd." 
See also on i. I. 125 above. 

10. Untread again. Retrace. 

14. Younger. The reading of all the early eds., changed by 
some to younker, which S. uses in I Hen. IV. iii. 3. 92 and 3 Hen. 
VL ii. i. 24. 

15. Scarfed. Decked with flags and streamers. In A. W. ii. 3. 
214 "scarfs" are associated with " bannerets " in the comparison 
of a person to a " vessel." 

17. How like the prodigal doth she return. The reference to the 
Scripture parable is obvious. The she is naturally used of the bark. 

1 8. Over-weathered. Weatherbeaten. 

30. Who love 7, etc. -The inflection of who is often neglected. 
Directly after a preposition, whom is usually found. Cf. L. L. L. ii. 
I. 2: "Consider ivho the king your father sends, To whom he 
sends." But in Cymb. iv. 2. 75 and Oth. i. 2. 52 we have the in- 
terrogative who even after a preposition : " To who ? " See on i. 2. 
32 above. Sweet, in his Short Historical English Grammar (Ox- 
ford, 1892), says : " In present spoken English whom may be said 
to be extinct, except in the rare construction with a preposition 
immediately before it." 

35. Exchange. That is, of apparel. 

42. Too-too light. " Too-too " was often (as here) a compound 

Scene VII] Notes 175 

epithet, and should then have the hyphen; but in some cases (as 
in Ham. i. 2. 129: "this too, too solid flesh") it was an emphatic 
repetition, just as it is now. 

43. An office of discovery ', etc. The office of a torchbearer is to 
show what is in the way, but I ought to keep in the shade. 

47. Close. Secret, stealthy. 

51. By my hood. Probably swearing by the hood of his masque 
dress. In Gentile there is perhaps a play upon gentle, which is 
found in some of the early eds. 

52. Beshrew me. A very mild imprecation, often used playfully 
and even tenderly. 

54. If that. This use of that as " a conjunctional affix " was 
common. Thus we have " when that," " why that," " while that," 
" though that," " since that," etc. 

67. Glad on V. S. often uses on where we should use of. In 
Temp. i. 2, on 't = of it occurs three times. See also I Samuel, 
xxvii. II. 

SCENE VII. 4. Of gold, who. In the Elizabethan age, which 
was not yet established as the neuter relative. It was often applied 
to persons (as in the Lord's Prayer, " Our Father which art in 
heaven ") and who to things. In the next line but one, we have 
" silver, which." 

5. Who chooseth, etc. The inscriptions are all in Alexandrines 
(verses of six accents or twelve syllables). 

26. If thou be'st rated. This beest must not be confounded with 
the subjunctive be. It is the Anglo-Saxon bist, 2d pers. sing. pres. 
indicative of bedn, to be. See on i. 3. 22 above. 

29. Afeard. S. uses afeard and afraid interchangeably. 

30. Disabling. Disparaging; as in A. Y. L. iv. I. 34. v. 4. 80, 

34. But more than these, in lave I do deserve. This line alone 

would prove that Morocco is really in love. See on ii. I. 12 above. 

41. Hyrcanian. Hyrcania was an extensive tract of country 

I 7 6 


[Act II 

southeast of the Caspian. S. three times mentions the tigers of 
Hyrcania: 3 Hen. VI. i. 4. 155, Macb. iii. 4. 101, and Ham. ii. 2. 
472. Vasty = waste, desolate, like the Latin vastus. S. uses vast 
several times as a noun waste. 

42. Through/ares. Thorough and through are the same word, 
and S. uses either as suits the measure. So with throughly and 
thoroughly. We find throughfare again in Cymb. i. 2. n. 

43. Come view. Come to view. See on i. 3. 157 above. 
49. Like. Likely; as very often. 


50. Too^gross, etc. Too coarse a material to enclose her shroud. 
Cerecloth cerement (Ham. i. 4. 48), cloth smeared with melted 
Wax (Lat. cerd) or gums, for embalming the dead. 
I 51. Obscure has the accent on the first syllable, like many dis- 
syllabic adjectives and participles when used before a noun. 

53. Undervalued, etc. See on i. I. 165 above. During the 
Middle Ages, and down to the sixteenth century, the value of 
silver was T ^ and ^j, and even, as here stated, T \j that of gold. 
In the latter part of the seventeenth century it fell to as low as T \. 
In the eighteenth it rose to y^, and is now ^ or less. 

57. Insculfd upon. Graven on the outside. The angel was 
worth about ten shillings. It had on one side a figure of MichaeJ 
piercing the dragon; The use of the device is said to have origi- 

Scene VIII] Notes 177 

nated in Pope Gregory's pun of Angli and Angeli. Verstegan, in his 
Restitution of Decayed Intelligence, says : " The name of Engel is 
yet at this present in all the Teutonick tongues, to wit, the high 
and low Dutch, &c., as much to say as Angel, and if a Dutch-man 
be asked how he would in his language call an Angel-like-man, he 
would answer, ein English-man, Engel being in their tongue an 
Angel, and English, which they write Engehche, Angel-like. And 
such reason and consideration may have moved our former kings, 
upon their best coin of pure and fine gold, to set the image of an 

63. A carrion death. That is, a skull. 

65. Glisters. Glisten does not occur in S. nor in Milton. In 
both we find glister several times. 

77. Part. Depart, See Cor. v. 6. 73 : " When I parted hence/' 
etc. Depart was also used where we should say part ; as in the 
Marriage Service, " till death us do part " is a corruption of " till 
death us depart." 

SCENE VIII. 12. A passion. Passionate outcry. Cf. T. and 
C. v. 2. 181 : "Your passion draws ears hither." 

27. Reasoned. Talked, conversed; as in Rich. III. ii. 3. 39, etc. 

28. The narrow seas. The English Channel a name not unfre- 
quently applied to it in that day. It occurs again iii. I. 4 below. 

30. Fraught. We now use fraught ( = freighted) only in a 
figurative sense. Fraught is used as a noun in T. N. v. I. 64 and 
Oth. iii. 3. 449. Freight does not occur in S. or Milton. 

33. You were best. Originally the you was dative (to you it were 
best), but it came to be regarded as a nominative. Cf. J. C. iii. 3. 
13: "Ay, and truly, you were best;" Temp. i. 2. 366: "Thou'rt 
best;" r. N. \. 2. 27: "She were better," etc. See also v. I. 175 

39. Slubber. To do carelessly or imperfectly. It also means to 
obscure, or soil; as in Oth. i. 3. 227: "slubber the gloss of your 
new fortunes." 

MER. OF YEN. 12 

178 Notes [Act ii 

40. Piping. Ripeness, maturity. 

42. Mind of love. That is, loving mind. Cf. "mind of honour," 
M. for M. ii. 4. 179. 

44. Ostents. Manifestations, displays. See on ii. 2. 198 above. 

45. Conveniently. In its original sense, fitly, suitably. Cf. the 
adjective in iii. 4. 56 below. 

47. Turning his face, etc. As Malone suggests, we have here 
"the outline of a beautiful picture." 

48. Sensible. Sensitive. Cf. L. L. L. iv. 3. 337 : " Love's feel- 
ing is more soft and sensible Than are the tender horns of cockled 

52. Quicken his embraced heaviness. Enliven the melancholy 
he indulges. Cf. iii. 2. 109 below: " rash-embrac'd despair." 

53. Do we so. ist pers. imperative (or " subjunctive used impera- 
tively ") ; a form not uncommon in S. Cf. Hen. V. iv. 8. 127 : " Do 
we all holy rites ! " See also v. I. 36 below. 

SCENE IX. 18. Addressed me. Prepared myself. 
Fortune now, etc. Success now to the hope of my heart ! 

25. By the fool multitude. For by, see on i. 2. 53; and for the 
adjective fool, on i. I. 102 above. 

26. Fond. Foolish; as usually in S. Cf. iii. 3. 9 below. 

27. The martlet. The house-martin. Cf. Macb. i. 6. 4: "the 
temple-haunting martlet." 

28. In the weather. Exposed to the weather. Cf. Cymb. iii. 3. 64 : 
" left me bare to weather." 

31. Jump with. Agree with. Cf. Rich. III. iii. I. ii: "out- 
ward show, which . . . seldom or never jumpeth with the heart." 
Jump also means to risk, hazard, as in Macb. i. 7. 7 : "jump the 
life to come." 

40. Estates. Ranks. Cf. Ham. v. i. 244: " 't was of some 
estate" (that is, high rank). 

43. Should cover, etc. Should wear their hats, that now take 
them off, as to superiors. 

Scene ix] Notes 179 

47. Ruin. Refuse, rubbish. 

52. Too long a pause, etc. This is perhaps an Aside, as Capell 
and Furness assume, but I doubt it. 

60. To offend, etc. That is, an offender cannot be the judge of 
his own case. For the accent of distinct, see on ii. 7. 51 above. 

62. Fire. As often, a dissyllable. In /. C. iii. I. 171 we have 
it both as a monosyllable and as a dissyllable : " As fire drives out 
fire, so pity pity." Hours is a dissyllable four times in as many 
lines in 3 Hen. VL ii. 5. 31-34, and a monosyllable four lines below. 
Cf. iii. 2. 20 below. 

67. I wis. This is a corruption of the adverbial ywis (certainly), 
but S. no doubt regarded it as a pronoun and verb. 

71. You are sped. Your fate is settled. Cf. "you two are sped," 
T. of S. v. 2. 185. See also Lycidas, 122: "What need they? 
They are sped." 

77. Wroth. Some make the word = ruth (sorrow) ; but others 
take it to be another form of wrath, used in the old sense of 
misfortune or calamity. 

84. My lord. Used jestingly in response to the my lady. So 
in I Hen. IV. ii. 4. 317 the prince says, "How now, my lady the 
hostess ? " in reply to her " My Ior4 the Prince ! " In Rich. II. v. 
5. 67, also, a groom addresses the king, "Hail, royal prince ! " and 
Richard replies, " Thanks, noble peer ! " 

88. Sensible regreets. Tangible greetings, substantial salutations. 
Regreet strictly means a responsive greeting. The noun occurs 
again in K.John, iii. I. 241. 

89. Commends. Cf. Rich. II. iii. I. 38 : "I send to her my 
kind commends." 

90. Yet I have not. I have not yet. Yet up to this time, is 
now used only after a negative, but in the Elizabethan age it was 
often used, as here, before a negative. Cf. T. of S. ind. I. 96: "For 
yet his honour never heard a play ; " and this from Ascham's Schole- 
master : " There be that kepe them out of fier and yet was never 
burned " which would be nonsense nowadays. 

180 Notes [Act m 

91. Likely. In the Yankee sense of promising. Cf. 2 Hen. IV. 
iii. 2. 186: " a likely fellow ! " and Id. iii. 2. 273 : " your likeliest 

97. High-day wit. " Holiday terms," as Hotspur expresses it 
(i Hen. IV. i. 3. 46). Cf. M. W. iii. 2. 60 : "he speaks holiday." 

99. Cupid' 's post. So below (v. I. 46) we have " there 's a post 
come from my master." For the adverbial mannerly, cf. Cymb. 
iii. 6. 92, etc. 

xoo. Bassanio, lord Love, etc* May it be Bassanio, O Cupid ! 


SCENE I. 2. // lives there unchecked. The report prevails there 

3. Wracked. The only spelling of wrecked in the early eds. 
The noun wrack (never wreck) rhymes with back in Macb. v. 5. 
51 and four other instances in S. 

4. The Goodwins. The Goodwin Sands, off the eastern coast of 
Kent. According to tradition, they were once an island belonging 
to Earl Godwin, which was swallowed up by the sea about A.D. 1 100. 

9. Knapped, Nibbled ; originally, snapped, broke off. The 
word occurs in Psalms, xlvi. 9 (Prayer-Book version) : " He knap- 
peth the spear in sunder." Ginger was a favourite condiment with 
old people. 

27. The wings, etc. The boy's clothes she wore when she eloped. 

37. Match. Bargain, compact. Cf. Cymb. iii. 6. 30 : " 't is our 
match," etc. 

39. Smug. Spruce, trim. Cf. Lear, iv. 6. 202 :" a smug bride- 

48. Haifa million. That is, ducats. 

62. Humility. The word is used in its ordinary sense, but is 
spoken ironically : " What is his professed humility ? " the 
humility, or patience under injuries inculcated by his " prophet the 

Scene I] 



Nazarite " (in Matthew, v. 39, for instance). It has essentially the 
same meaning as sufferance, which Shylock here opposes to it: 
If the humility of the Christian is revenge, what should the 
sufferance of the Jew be " by Christian example " ? Schmidt de- 
fines it in this and a few other passages as " kindness, benevolence, 
humanity," and some critics have been inclined to agree with him ; 


but in all these passages the ordinary sense of the word is equally or 
more satisfactory. The New English Dictionary (Oxford) does not 
recognize " humanity " among the meanings of humility, which it 
illustrates by abundant examples from the fourteenth to the nine- 
teenth century. 

65. It shall go hard, etc. I will spare no effort to outdo you in 
what you teach me. 

71. Matched. That is, matched with them, found to match them. 

85. Why, so. Well, well. Cf. Rich. II. ii. 2. 87, etc. 

1 82 Notes [Act in 

115. My turquoise. The folio reads, " my Turkies." Tennyson 
spells it turkis, which is still an allowed pronunciation. Marvellous 
properties were ascribed to this " Turkey-stone." Its colour was 
said to change with the health of the wearer. Cf. Ben Jonson, 
Sejanus : 

" And true as Turkise in the deare lord's ring, 
Looke well or ill with him." 

And Fenton {Secret Wonders of Nature, 1569) says: "The Tur- 
keys doth move when there is any perill prepared to him that 
weareth it." 

SCENE II. 6. Hate counsels not, etc. Hatred would prompt 
no such feeling. 

8. And yet a maiden hath no tongue but thought. And yet a 
maiden must not venture to speak all that she feels; or, if she 
speak at all, she must speak what she feels. The line has been 
much discussed. See more than a full page in fine print upon it in 
Furness's " New Variorum " ed. 

14. Beshreiv. See on ii. 6. 52 above. 

15. CPerlooVd. Bewitched by the "evil eye." Cf. M. W. v. 5. 
87 : " thou wast o'erlook'd even in thy birth." 

1 8. Naughty. Evil. See on iii. 3. 9 below. 

20. Though yours, not yours. One yours (preferably the sec- 
ond) must be a dissyllable. See on ii. .9. 62 above. 

Prove it so, etc. If it prove so (that is, that I am " not yours "), 
let fortune, not me, bear the penalty. See on 314 below. 

22. Peize. The French peser, to weigh. Here it means to 
delay, as if weighing each moment deliberately, or (as some explain 
the figure) as if the time were retarded by hanging weights to it. 
S. uses the word in the sense of weigh in Rich. II. v. 3. 105, and in 
that of poise in K.John, ii. I. 575. 

26. Then confess, etc. Alluding to the use of the rack to extort 

Scene II] Notes 1 83 

29. Fear the enjoying. Fear for the enjoying. Cf. iii. 5. 3 and 
29 below. 

44. A swan-like end. Cf. Oth. v. 2. 247 : " I will play the swan, 
And die in music"; and K.John, v. 7. 21 : "this pale, faint swan, 
Who chants a doleful hymn to his own death." 

54. Presence. Dignity of mien. 

55. Alcides. Laomedon, king of Troy, had offended Neptune, 
who threatened to inundate the country unless the monarch should 
sacrifice his daughter Hesione. Accordingly, she was fastened to 
a rock on the seashore to become the prey of a sea monster. Her- 
cules rescued her, not for " love," but to get possession of a pair of 
famous horses belonging to the king. 

58. Dardanian wives. Trojan women. Cf. Hen. V. iii. 3. 40, 

63. Fancy. Love; as often. Cf. M. N. D. \. I. 155: " sighs 
and tears, poor fancy's followers." So also in compounds, as 
"fancy-free" (M. N. D. ii. I. 164), "fancy-sick" (Id. iii. 2. 96), 
etc. The Song describes in exquisite imagery the birth and the 
death of a transient affection, " engendered in the eye," not in the 

74. Still. Ever. See on i. I. 17 above. 

76. Seasoned. This carries on the metaphor suggested by tainted. 
It is a homely figure, taken from the use of salt to preserve meat, 
but it is a favourite one with S. 

79. Approve. Justify, prove. 

8 1. No vice so simple. So unmixed. 

82. His outivard parts. Its outward parts. Its was just coming 
into use in the Elizabethan age. It does not occur in the present 
play, or in any earlier one, except once in 2 Hen. VI. iii. 2. 393, 
where the folio has ifs and the old play has his. In the folio the 
form its is found only in M. for M. i. 2. 4, while ifs occurs nine 
times. // as a genitive (or " possessive ") is found fourteen times, 
in seven of which it precedes own. This it is an early provincial 
form of the old genitive. In King James's version of the Bible 

1 84 Notes [Act in 

(1611) its does not occur at all, and the possessive it only in 
Leviticus, xxv. 5 ("it own accord"), changed in modern editions 
to " its own." 

86. Livers white as milk. See on ii. 1.6 above. 

87. Excrement. Used, as the related word excrescence still is, 
for a superficial growth. It refers here to the beards; as in L. L. L. 
v. I. 109: "dally with my excrement, with my mustachio." It is 
also applied to the hair in C. of E. ii. 2. 79 and W. T. iv. 4. 734. 

91. Lightest. That is, in a bad sense. Cf. below (v. I. 129), 
" Let me give light, but let me not be light," etc. 

92. Crisped. Curled. Milton (Comus, 984) speaks of "crisped 
shades and bowers," referring to the leaves waved and curled by 
the wind. 

94. Upon supposed fairness. On the strength of their fictitious 
beauty. The expression seems to be closely connected with the 
preceding line, and not with the one before that, as some make it. 

95. The dowry, etc. S. has several times expressed his antipathy 
to false hair. In Sonn. 68 there is a passage very similar to the 
one in the text. See also T. of A. iv. 3. 144: "Thatch your poor 
thin roofs With burdens of the dead." In L. L. L. iv. 3. 258 Biron 

savs : 

" O, if in black my lady's brows be deck'd, ' 

It mourns that painting and usurping hair 
Should ravish doters with a false aspect.** 

It was then comparatively a recent fashion. Stow says, " Women's 
periwigs were first brought into England about the time of the 
massacre of Paris" (1572). Barnaby Rich, in 1615, says of the 
periwig sellers : " These attire-makers within these forty years were 
not known by that name. . . . But now they are not ashamed to 
set them forth upon their stalls such monstrous mop-poles of 
hair so proportioned and deformed that but within these twenty 
or thirty years would have drawn the passers-by to stand and gaze, 
and to wonder at them." 
97. GuileJ. Full of guile, treacherous. S. has many similar 

Scene II] Notes 185 

participial adjectives derived from nouns, and meaning " endowed 
with (the noun)." 

99. An Indian beauty. This has been a great stumbling-block 
to the critics, who have proposed " dowdy," " gipsy," " favour " 
(= face), "visage," "feature," "beldam," etc., in place of beauty. 
Indian is used in a derogatory sense, and the occurrence of beau- 
teous and beauty in the same sentence is not at all unlike S.'s 

1 02. Hard food for Midas. An allusion to the story of Midas, 
king of Phrygia, who gained from Bacchus the power to change 
whatever he touched to gold, and found to his sorrow that even his 
food was thus transmuted. 

I will none ofthee. See on ii. 2. 207 above. 

1 06. Thy plainness. The folio and both quartos have " pale- 
nesse." Warburton suggested the emendation, which is adopted 
by the majority of editors. The antithesis of plainness and elo- 
quence is more natural and more forcible, especially after that of 
threatenest and promise in the preceding line. It is an objection to 
paleness that pale has just been applied to the silver casket. 

no. Green-eyed jealousy. Cf. "green-eyed monster," in Oth. iii. 
3. 166. 

112. Rain thy joy. The later quartos have rein, which some 
prefer; but in measure expresses the idea of restraint, so that In 
measure rain thy ioy corresponds to both allay thy ecstasy and 
scant this excess. The succession of antitheses emphasizes the 
idea. In measure rein would introduce a weak tautology. 

115. Counterfeit. Portrait. Cf. T. of A. v. I. 83: "Thou 
draw'st a counterfeit Best in all Athens." 

120. Hairs. Cf. L. L. L. iv. 3. 142 : " her hairs were gold," etc. 

126. Unfurnished. Unaccompanied by the other eye, or, per- 
haps, by the other features. 

130. Continent. In its original sense of that which contains. 
Cf. Ham. iv. 4. 64 : " tomb enough and continent "; and v. 2. 115: 
"you shall find in him* the continent of what part a gentleman 

1 86 Notes [Act ill 

would see " (that is, find him containing every quality which a gen- 
tleman would desire to contemplate for imitation). 

140. I come by note, etc. "I come according to written warrant 
(the scroll just read) to give a kiss and receive the lady." 

141. Prize. By metonymy, for the contest. 

156. Livings. Possessions, fortune. Cf. v. I. 260: "you have 
given me life and living." See also Mark, xii. 44, etc. 

158. Sum of nothing. This is the reading of the folio, and is 
more in keeping with the negative characteristics which follow than 
" sum of something," the reading of the quartos, which some edi- 
tors adopt. To term in gross = to state in full; to make the 
most of it. Cf. gross in i. 3. 55 above. 

174. Be my vantage, etc. Be a sufficient ground for my crying 
out against you. " Exclaim on " occurs elsewhere, but S. also uses 
" exclaim against." 

1 78. Fairly spoke. S. uses both spoke and spoken as participles. 
See on ii. 4. 7 above. 

191. None from me. That is, none away from me, since you 
have enough yourselves. This meaning of from is not uncommon, 
and is played upon in Rich. III. iv. 4. 256-261. 

195. So thou canst get. If thou canst; a common use of so. 

19*. As swiff. The Elizabethan writers use adjectives freely as 

199. Intermission. Delay ; that is, I can be as prompt in 
making love as you are. , Some editors follow the 1st folio, which 
joins intermission to lotfd. The meaning then is, I made love for 
pastime, or to occupy myself while you were wooing Portia. Inter" 
mission is metrically five syllables. See on i. 1.8 above. 

208. Achieved her mistress. S. often uses achieve in this sense. 
Cf. T. of S. i. 1. 161 : " If I achieve not this young modest girl," etc. 

212. Our feast shall be. Shall ' = will, as often. See on i. I. 117 

214. Salerio. Some critics have doubted whether this is the 
name of a new character, or one of the various forms of Salarino 

Scene II] Notes 187 

or Salanio found in the old editions ; but that it is the former is 
probable from the fact that the name is spelt Salerio in every instance 
in which it occurs (five times in the text and once in a stage direc- 
tion) in both the quartos and the folios, while Salarino and Salanio 
appear as Salarino, Salaryno, Salerino, Slarino, Solarino, Solanio, 
Salino, Salinio, and Solania. Furness thinks that the limited num- 
ber of actors in the old theatres would prevent the introduction of 
a new character here ; but this play has fewer characters than the 
average, even if we add Salerio. 

216. If that. See on ii. 6. 54 above. 

218. Very friends. True friends. Cf. R. and J. iii. I. 115: 
" My very friend." See also John, vii. 26. 

228. Doth. Dost and doth are the established forms for the 
auxiliary; doest and doeth, in other cases. In old writers we find 
the former used for the latter, as here. Cf. J. C.i.i.S: "What 
dost thou with thy best apparel on ? " 

231. Estate. State, condition ; as often. On the other hand, 
state is sometimes found in the sense of estate. See 254 below. 

235. Success. Elsewhere S. often uses this word in its old sense 
of issue, result. 

236. Won the fleece. Cf. i. I. 170 above. 

238. Shrewd. Evil; the original sense of the word. 

239. Steals. A relative in S. often takes a singular verb though 
the antecedent be plural. 

242. Constant. Steadfast, self-possessed. Cf. Temp. i. 2. 207 : 
M Who was so firm, so constant," etc. 

246. Unpleasant st. This harsh contraction of superlatives was 
common. Cf. Macb. ij. i. 24: "At your kind'st leisure"; Id. ii. 2. 
4: "stern'st good night," etc. 

257. Mere. Absolute, thorough. Cf. Oth. ii. 2. 3 : "The mere 
perdition of the Turkish fleet," etc. 

261. Issuing. Pouring forth. Intransitive verbs are not un- 
frequently used transitively by S. 

262. Hit. Hit the mark, succeeded. 

1 88 Notes [Act m 

265. Scape. Not to be printed " 'scape." It is found often in 

267. Should appear. Would appear. See on i. 2. 92. 

268. Discharge. Pay. Cf. C. of E. iv. 4. 122: "I will dis 
charge thee." 

271. Confound. Destroy, ruin ; as often. 

273. Impeach the freedom of the state. Denies that strangers 
have equal rights in Venice. Cf., however, iv. 1 . 38, where Shylock 

Bays : 

" If you deny me, let the danger light 

Upon your charter and your city's freedom ; ** 

as if the freedom depended upon a charter which might be revoked 
by the power that had granted it. The thought here may be the 

275. Magnificoes of greatest port. Grandees of highest .rank. 

276. Persuaded with. Used persuasion with. It is the only 
instance in which S. joins with to this verb. 

277. Envious. Malicious. So envy = malice, in iv. I. 10, 121 
below ; as often. 

280. To Tubal and to Chus. Karl Elze says that the names are 
" taken from Genesis, x. 2, 6, without change "; but there the latter 
name is Cush. Perhaps Chus in the old eds. was a misprint for 
Cush. According to the dictionaries, ch is pronounced like k in all 
Hebrew proper names, with the single exception of Rachel ; but 
Chus, if it be a true Hebrew name, should probably be regarded as 
another exception. 

284. Deny. Forbid. Elsewhere it means refuse; as in ii. 2. 
1 80, etc. 

288. Best-conditioned and unwearied. That is, most unwearied. 
See on ii. I. 46 above. For conditioned, see on i. 2. 129 above. 

296. Description. A quadrisyllable. See on 199 above. 

297. Hair. A dissyllable. See on ii. 9. 62 above. 

307. Cheer. In its original meaning of countenance. Ct.M.N.D. 
ii. 2. 96 : " pale of cheer," etc. It is the French chere, which even 

Scene III] Notes 189 

up to the sixteenth century was used in the sense of head, face. In 
some of the provincial dialects of France the word still retains its old 

308. Dear bought. "Dearly bought" (iv. 1.95); the adjective 
used adverbially, as often. 

One would suppose that the playfulness of this line, with its 
pretty pun on dear, was self-evident, but some critics take it in all 
seriousness. One, for instance, says : " Portia could not possibly 
intend by these words ungenerously to remind Bassanio of the 
benefits she had conferred upon him. They must, I think, relate 
to that anxiety and distress of mind which she had undergone 
during the time that his fate was in suspense ; possibly, too, to the 
grief she was now about to suffer in his absence." In other words, 
Portia does not refer to her marriage with Bassanio as a mercantile 
transaction, but she does remind him that she has had to pay a 
rather heavy price for him in mental anxiety on his behalf. 

312. Is forfeit. Is forfeited. So below, iv. I. 358: "thy wealth 
being forfeit." This contraction is not uncommon in the past par- 
ticiple of verbs ending in -#/or -/. See on v. I. 1 1 below. 

314. Yoit and /. Cf. " who you shall rightly love," i. 2. 32, and 
" not I " for " not me," in 21 above. See also Oth. iv. 2. 3 : "you 
have seen Cassio and she together." This disregard of the inflec- 
tions of pronouns was common in writers of the time. 

SCENE III. 9. Naughty. This word was formerly used in a 
much stronger sense than at present. In Much Ado, v. i. 306 the 
villain Borachio is called a " naughty man"; and Gloster, in Lear, 
iii. 7. 37, when the cruel Regan plucks his beard, addresses her as 
" Naughty lady ! " Cf. Proverbs, vi. 12, etc. See also v. i. 91 below. 

Fond. Foolish; as in ii. 9. 26 above. This was the original 
sense of the word, and is often found in S. 

10. To come. That is, as to come. Cf. Rich. III. iii. 2. 26: 

" I wonder he is so fond 
To trust the mockery of unquiet slumbers." 

190 Notes [Act m 

14. Dull-eyed. Wanting in perception, stupid; not with eyes 
dimmed with tears, as some make it. 

19. Kept. Kept company, dwelt. Cf. L. L. L. iv. I. 100, etc. 
23. Made moan. See on i. I. 126 above. 

25. Grant this forfeiture to hold. Allow it to hold good. 

26. Deny the course of law. Interfere with it, refuse to let it 
take its course. See on iii. 2. 284 above. 

27. For the commodity, etc. For if the advantages heretofore 
enjoyed by strangers in Venice be refused them, it will seriously 
impeach the justice of the state. See on i. I. 178 above. 

32. Bated. Reduced, lowered. Cf. "bated breath," i. 3. 120 
above. It should not be printed ''bated, since it is not a mere 
metrical contraction of abated, but a distinct word (cf. wake and 
awake, etc.) often found in prose writers. 

35. Pray God. The subject is omitted, as even now in "Would 
to God," etc, 

SCENE IV. 2. Conceit. Conception, notion. 

6. Send relief. For the omission of the preposition, see on i. I. 
125 above. 

7. Lover. Friend. So just below, "bosom lover." Cf. J. C. iii. 
2. 13: "Romans, countrymen, and lovers." See also Psabns, 
xxxviii. II. The word, moreover, was formerly applied to both 
sexes, as paramour and villain were. Even now we say of a man 
and woman that they are lovers, or a pair of lovers. 

9. J^han customary bounty, etc. Than ordinary benevolence 
can constrain you to be. 

11. Nor shall not. See on i. 2. 26 above. Companion was some- 
times used contemptuously, as fellow still is. See /. C. iv. 3. 138: 
"Companion, hence ! " etc. 

12. Waste. Spend. Cf. Milton {Sonnet to Mr. Lawrence) : 
"Help waste a sullen day"; where, however, the idea of "killing 
time " is more evident than here. 

14. Be needs. Just below we have the more familiar needs be* 
For needs, see on ii. 4. 29 above. 

Scene IV] Notes 191 

25. Husbandry. Stewardship. Cf. T. of A. ii. 2. 164: "If you 
suspect my husbandry," etc. 

Manage. Cf. Temp. i. 2. 70 : " The manage of my state." The 
word is especially used of horses; as in I Hen. IV. ii. 3. 52: 
"Speak terms of manage to thy bounding steed," etc. 

28. Contemplation. Metrically five syllables. 

30. Her husband, etc. An ellipsis like those in ii. i. 46 and iii. 
2. 288 above. Cf. Hen. VIII. ii. 3. 16 : "As soul and body's sever- 
ing," etc. 

33. Deny this imposition. Refuse this charge laid upon you. 
See on i. 2. 105 above. - 

45. Balthasar. This name (sometimes Balthazar} is found also 
in C. of ., R. and f., and Much Ado, and is always accented on 
the first syllable. 

46. As I have ever found the e, etc. Thou and thee are generally 
used in addressing servants, and in affectionate familiarity with 
relatives and friends. Portia generally addresses Nerissa, who is a 
waiting-gentlewoman, not an ordinary servant, with you, but some- 
times, as in i. 2 and here (62, 79), with thou. When you is used 
with a servant it generally implies anger or reproof. 

50. Cousin's hand. The word cousin in that day was often used 
instead of our kinsman and kinswoman. 

52. With imagined speed. With the speed of thought. Cf. 
Hen, V. iii. chor. I : " Thus with imagin'd wing our swift scene 

53. Tranect. The word occurs nowhere else. It may be a mis- 
print for "traject," the English equivalent of the French trajet, 
Italian traghetto. Coryat {Crudities, 1611) says: "There are in 
Venice thirteen ferries or passages, which they commonly call 
Traghetti, where passengers may be transported in a gondola to 
what place of the city they will." 

56. Convenient. Proper, suitable. See on ii. 8. 45 above. 

59. Of us. That is, of our seeing them. 

61. Accomplished. Furnished. Cf. Rich. //. ii. I. 177: "Ac- 

192 Notes [Act in 

complish'd with the number of thy hours"; that is, when he was 
of thy age. See also Hen. V. iv. chor. 12: "The armourers 
accomplishing (that is, equipping) the knights." 

65. Braver. Finer, more showy. Both brave and bravery are 
often used in this sense with reference to dress, personal appear- 
ance, etc. See Temp. i. 2. 6, 411, ii. 2. 122, iii. 2. 12, etc. Cf. 
Isaiah, iii. 1 8. The Scottish braw is the same word. 

67. Mincing. This word was not always contemptuous. In 
the one instance in which Milton uses it (Comus, 964: "the minc- 
ing Dryades") it appears to mean tripping lightly or gracefully. 
Cf. also Drayton, Polyolb. Song 27 : " Ye maids, the hornpipe then 
so mincingly that tread." 

69. Quaint. Ingenious, elaborate. See on ii. 4. 6 above. 

72. / could not do withal. I could not help it. In Palgrave's 
Lesclaircissement de la Lang. Fr. t 1530, we find it thus explained: 
" / can nat do withall, a thyng lyeth nat in me, or I am nat in 
faulte that a thyng is done." 

75. That men. This omission of so before that is very common. 
See /. C. i. I. 50: "That Tiber trembled "; Macb. ii. 2. 7: "That 
death and nature do contend," etc. 

77. Raw. Crude, or, in Yankee parlance, "green." Cf. A. Y.L. 
iii. 2. 76: "Thou art raw," etc. 

Jacks. A common term of contempt. See Much Ado, v I. 91, 
Rich. Iff. i. 3. 72, etc. 

79. All my 'whole. Cf. I Hen. VI.\. I. 126: "All the whole 
army"; Hen. VIII. i. I. 12: "All the whole time," etc. 

SCENE V. 3. I fear you. That is, fear^br you; as in iii. 2. 29 
above and in 29 below. Cf. Rich. III. i. i. 137: " his physicians 
fear him mightily." 

4. Agitation. The clown's blunder for cogitation. 

14. When I shun Scylla, etc. In the Alexandreis of Philip 
Gaultier, written in the early part of the thirteenth century, we find 
the line," Incidis in Scyllam, cupiens vitare Charybdim," which had 

Scene V] Notes 193 

been often quoted and translated by English writers before the 
time of S. 

20. Enow. A form of enough, generally plural. Cf. 'iv. I. 29 

43. Cover. Launcelot quibbles on the two meanings of the 
word, to lay the table and to wear one's hat (see above, ii. 9. 43 : 
"How many then should cover," etc.). 

47. Quarrelling with occasion. Quibbling on every oppor- 

57. Discretion. Discrimination. Suited = suited to each other, 

60. A many. This expression is obsolete, though we still say a 
few, and many a in a distributive sense. It is occasionally used in 
poetry, as by Gerald Massey {Lovers Fairy Ring} : 

" We've known a many sorrows, Sweet : 
We've wept a many tears." 

See also Tennyson {Miller's Daughter) : " They have not shed a 
many tears." 

61. Garnished. Furnished, equipped. 

For a tricksy word, etc. For a quibbling word (or a play upon 
words), set the meaning at defiance. 

62. How cheer' st thou ? Equivalent to " What cheer ? How is 't 
with you?" in W. T. i. 2. 148. 

63. Good sweet. No term of compliment or endearment did 
more service in that day than sweet. This combination of good 
sweet occurs in Cor. i. 3. 119, M. W. iv. 2. 189, etc. Opinion is 
here a quadrisyllable, as in i. I. 102. 

69. Mean it. That is, intend to live an upright life. 

74. Pawrtd. Staked, wagered. Cf. Cor. ii:. 1.15, Cymb. i. 4. 
1 1 8, etc. 

81. Howsoever. The folio has "how som ere" a common 
vulgarism in that day. 

MER. OF VEN. 13 

194 Notes [Act iv 


SCENE I. 5. Uncapable. S. uses both in^^pable (six times) 
and uncapable (twice). So we find uncertain and incertain, un- 
constant and inconstant, unfortunate and infortunate, ungrateful 
and ingrateful, etc. 

6. From. S. generally has empty of. This is the only instance 
of empty from. 

7. Qualify. Moderate, temper; as often. 

8. Obdurate. The accent is on the penult, as always in S. 

9. And that. Here that is omitted after since, and is then in- 
serted in the second clause without since. This is a common con- 
struction in the Elizabethan writers. In most cases the subjects of 
the clauses are different. Cf. T. and C. ii. 2. 177 : 

" //"this law 

Of nature be corrupted through affection, 
And that great minds," etc. 

On the use of that with if, since, when, etc., see on ii. 6. 54 above. 

10. Envy's. See on iii. 2. 277 above. Cf. Mark, xv. 10. 

18. Lead' } st this fashion, etc. You keep up this show of malice 
only until the final hour of execution. 

20. Remorse. Relenting, pity. This is its usual meaning in S. 
Cf. K. John, ii. I. 478: "Soft petitions, pity, and remorse," etc. 
So remorseful = compassionate, and remorseless = pitiless (as at 

22. Where. Whereas. Cf. T. G. of V. iii. i. 74: "Where I 
thought the remnant of mine age," etc.; L. L. L. ii. I. 103: 
"Where now his knowledge must prove ignorance"; Cor.\. 10. 13: 
" Where I thought to crush him," etc. On the other hand, whereas 
sometimes = where, as in 2 Hen. VI. i. 2. 58 : " Whereas the king 
and queen do mean to hawk." 

24. Loose. Release, reftti* 

Scene I] Notes 195 

26. Moiety. Portion, share (not an exact half) ; as often in S. 
Cf. Ham. i. I. 90: "a moiety competent" (a proper share), etc. 

29. Royal merchant. This epithet was striking and well under- 
stood in S.'s time, when Sir Thomas Gresham was honoured with 
the title of the royal merchant, both from his wealth, and because 
he transacted the mercantile business of Queen Elizabeth; and at 
Venice the Giustiniani, the Grimaldi, and others were literally 
" merchant princes," and known as such throughout Europe. For 
enow, see on iii. 5. 20 above. 

34. Gentle. No pun on Gentile is intended, as some have sup- 
posed. It could only have angered the Jew. 

35. Possessed. See on i. 3. 64 above. 

36. Sabbath. One early ed. has " Sabaoth." Bacon and Spenser 
confound the signification of the two words, and Dr. Johnson, ii> 
the first edition of his Dictionary, treated them as identical. 

39. Your charter. See on iii. 2. 273 above. 

41. Carrion. A favourite term of contempt with S. 

43. But, say, it is. But suppose it is. The commas are required 
to make the sense clear. 

47. Some men there are love not. The relative is omitted, as 
often. A gaping pig is either a pig brought to table with a lemon 
or apple in its mouth, or the living, squealing animal. 

49. Masters of passion. Agencies (such as he has been speak- 
ing of) that move either the sympathy or antipathy of any man. 
Passion is used in the original sense of feeling or emotion. Cf. 
/. C. i. 2. 48 : "I have much mistook your passion," etc. 

52. Abide. Bear, endure. Cf. Temp. i. 2. 360: "which good 
natures Could not abide to be with," etc. 

55. Lodg'd. Settled, abiding. 

59. Current. Persistent course. 

65. Think you question. Consider that you are arguing with. 

67. Main flood. The " ocean tide." Cf. "the flood,"!. I. 10. 
*The main" generally means the sea (as in Rich. III. i. 4. 20: 
"tumbling billows of the main"), but sometimes the main land. 


Notes [Act iv 

L Ham. iv. 4. 15: "the main of Poland," and Lear, iii. I. 6: 
" swell the curled waters 'bove the main." 

77. With all brief and plain conveniency. With all proper 
brevity and directness. 

78. Have judgment. Receive sentence. Cf. Luke, xix. 22. 
87. Parts. Capacities, employments. 

99. Upon my power. By virtue of my prerogative. 

101. Determine. Decide. The word sometimes means to put 
an end to, as in 2 Hen. IV. iv. 5. 82 : " Till his friend sickness hath 
determin'd me "; sometimes, to come to an end, as in Cor. v. 3. 1201 
" till these wars determine." 

1 1 8. Not on thy sole, but on thy soul. Cf. the quibble in J. . i. 
I. 15: "a mender of bad soles." For the sentiment, cf. 2. Hen. 
IV. iv. 5. 107 : 

" Thou hid'st a thousand daggers in thy thoughts, 
Which thou hast whetted on thy stony heart." 

1 20. The hangman 1 s axe. So in Fletcher's Prophetess, iii. 2, 
Dioclesian, who had stabbed Aper, is called "the hangman of Volu- 
sius Aper"; and in Jacke Drums Entertainment (1616), when 
Brabant Junior says, "let mine owne hand Be mine owne hang- 
man," he refers to stabbing himself. In the Duke of Buckingham's 
Rehearsal, Bayes speaks of " a great huge hangman, . . . with his 
sword drawn." In Much Ado (iii. 2. n) Cupid is called "the 
little hangman." 

121. Envy. Malice. See on iii. 2. 277 above. 
124. For thy life. For allowing thee to live. 

126. Pythagoras. The philosopher of Samos, to whom was 
attributed the doctrine of the transmigration of souls. Cf. T. N. 
iv. 2. 54 : " Clown. What is the opinion of Pythagoras concerning 
wild-fowl? Malvolio. That the soul of our grandam might haply 
inhabit a bird." 

129. Hanged for human slaughter. According to Jewish law 
(Exodus, xxi. 28), ar. ox that gored a man to death was stoned. 

Scene I] Notes 197 

In the Middle Ages animals that had injured or killed human beings 
were often tried and executed. Many instances of such judicial pro- 
ceedings in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries are mentioned by 
Baring-Gould in his Curiosities of Olden Times (1896). In 1386 a 
judge at Falaise condemned a sow to be hanged for having lacerated 
and killed a child. In 1389 a horse was tried and condemned to die 
for killing a man. In 1499 a bull was similarly sentenced at Cou- 
roy, near Beauvais, for causing the death of a boy. The trials, 
which were conducted with all the formalities, were sometimes 
before the ordinary courts, sometimes before th^ ecclesiastical ones. 
In some cases, appeals to a higher court were made, and decided 
in due form. During the witch persecutions in Salem, Mass., dogs 
were hanged for supposed complicity with persons accused. 

133. Starved. The word originally meant to die, but in the latter 
part of the sixteenth century came to be used in the narrower sense 
of perishing with cold a meaning which it still has in the North 
of England (see 2 Hen. VI. iii. I. 343, etc.) or with hunger. 

143. Go give. Cf. "come view," ii. 7. 43; "go sleep," Rick. II. 
iv. I. 139; "go seek the king," Ham. ii. I. 101, etc. 

154. To fill up. To fulfil. 

156. No impediment to let him lack. No hindrance to his 
receiving. Of this peculiar form of " double negative " (which it 
virtually is) there are several instances in S. 

164. The difference^ etc. The dispute which is the subject of 
the present trial. 

1 66. Throughly. See on ii. 7. 42 above. 

171. Such rule. Such due form. 

173. Within his danger. Cf. V. and A. 639 : " Come not within 
his danger," etc. 

177. The quality of mercy, etc. The very nature of mercy 
excludes the idea of compulsion. 

1 78. It droppeth, etc. Cf. Ecclesiasticus, xxxv. 20 : " Mercy is 
seasonable in the time of affliction, as clouds of rain in the time of 

198 Notes [Act iv 

183. Shows. Represents. Cf. Rick. II. iii. 4. 42: " Showing, as 
in a model, our firm estate." 

189. Show. Show itself, appear. Cf. ii. 2. 186 above. 

190. Seasons. Tempers. Cf. Edward III. (1596): 

" And kings approach the nearest unto God 
By giving life and safety unto men." 

193. We do pray for mercy, etc. S. probably had the Lord's 
Prayer immediately in his mind, but the sentiment is also found in 
Ecclesiasticus, xxviii. 

197. Follow. Insist upon. 

20 1. Discharge. Pay. See on iii. 2. 268 above. 

203. Twice. Some critics would change this to thrice, because 
we have " thrice the sum " just below, but there is no necessity for 
bringing the two passages into mathematical agreement. S. is often 
careless in these little arithmetical matters. 

207. Truth. Honesty. So " a true man " was an honest man, 
as opposed to a thief. See M. for M. iv. 2. 46 : " Every true man's 
apparel fits your thief"; I Hen. IV. ii. 2. 98: "the thieves have 
bound the true men," etc. 

216. A Daniel come to judgment. The allusion is to the History 
of Susanna, 45 : " The Lord raised up the holy spirit of a young 
youth, whose name was Daniel," etc. See also Ezekiel, xxviii. 3, 
and Daniel, vi. 3. 

241. Hath full relation, etc. Clearly recognizes that this pen- 
alty (like any other) should be paid. 

244. More *elder. Double comparatives and superlatives are 
common in the Elizabethan writers. In S. we find " more larger " 
(A. and C. iii. 6. 76), "more better" (Temp. i. 2. 19), "most 
boldest" (/. C. iii. I. 121), " most unkindest " (Id. iii. 2. 187), etc. 
In Rick. II. ii. I. 49 we find "less happier," the only instance with 
less found in S. 

248. Balance. A contracted plural, as the verb and them in 
Shylock's answer prove. Such plurals often occur (as also do pos- 

Scene I] Notes 199 

sessive cases) with nouns ending in a sibilant sound; as horse, sense, 
place, service, etc. 

250. On your charge. At your expense. 

261. Still her use. Ever her custom. See on i. I. 17 above. 
On use, cf. J. C. ii. 2. 25 : " these things are beyond all use." 

265. Such misery. Misery may have the accent on the penult 
both here and in 1C. John, iii. 4 : " And buss thee as thy wife. 
Misery's love," etc. 

268. Speak me fair in death. Speak well of me when I am 
dead. "Romeo that spoke him fair" (R. and J. iii. I. 158) 
means " Romeo that spoke to him in conciliatory terms; " and this 
is the usual meaning of the phrase. 

270. A love. Cf. lover in iii. 4. 17 above. 

274. With all my heart. Cf. Rich. II. ii. I. 74 fol., where the 
dying Gaunt jests on his name; and where, in reply to Richard's 
question, " Can sick men play so nicely with their names? " he says : 
" No, misery makes sport to mock itself. " The pun is the only one 
that Antonio utters. He treats the matter lightly in the hope of 
making his friend feel it less. 

276. Which is as dear. See on ii. 7. 4 above. 

288. These be. See on i. 3. 22 above. 

289. Barrabas. So spelled and accented (on first syllable) in 
the time of S. In Marlowe's Jew of Malta the name is Barabas, 
not Barabbas. 

291. Pursue. Accented on the first syllable. Cf. pursuit in 
Sonn. 143. 4. 

304. Confiscate. Confiscated. This Latinism is most frequent 
in verbs derived from the first conjugation (as dedicate, consecrate, 
degenerate, suffocate, etc.), but it is found in other Latin derivatives. 

321. The substance. The amount. 

327. I have thee on the hip. See on i. 3. 46 above. 

340. The law hath yet another hold on you. S. is not willing to 
let the case depend on the legal quibbles which he takes from the 
old stories (their omission would have been resented by the theatre- 

200 Notes [Act iv 

goers of that day), but adds the sound law of this speech, which is 
entirely his own. 

342. Alien. A trisyllable. See on i. I. 8 above. 

345. Contrive. Plot. Cf./. C. ii. 3. 16 : " the fates with traitors 
do contrive," etc. 

365. Which humbleness, etc. Which humble entreaty on thy 
part may induce me to commute for a fine. 

366. Ay, for the state, etc. That is, the half which goes to the 
state may be thus commuted, but not Antonio's. 

376. In use. In trust for Shylock, for the purpose of securing it 
at his death to Lorenzo. Use does not mean interest, which Anto- 
nio has said (i. 3. 61 above) that he neither gives nor takes. 

382. Of all he dies possessed. See on i. I. 125 above. 

392. Ten more. To make up a jury of twelve. This appears to 
have been an old joke. Of course it is out of place here, as trial by 
jury was unknown in Venice. 

395. Desire your grace of pardon. Cf. M. N. D. iii. I. 185: 
" desire you of more acquaintance; " and Oth. iii. 3. 212 : " beseech 
you of your pardon." 

399. Gratify. Recompense. Cf. Cor. ii. 2. 44: "To gratify 
his noble service," etc. 

405. Cope. Reward, requite. 

414. Offeree. Of necessity. Perforce is still used in this sense. 

Attempt. Tempt. Cf. M. for M. iv. 2. 205 : " neither my coat, 
integrity, nor persuasion can with ease attempt you." 

444. Commandement. The spelling in all the early eds. The 
word is also a quadrisyllable in i Hen. VI. i. 3. 20 : " From him I 
have express commandement." 

SCENE II. 6. Upon more advice. Upon further consideration. 
Cf. M. for M. v. I. 469: "after more advice"; and Rich. If. i. 3. 
233: "upon good advice" (after due deliberation), etc. 

15. Old swearing. Old in this intensive or augmentative sense 
is common in writers of the time. For other examples in S. ; see 

Scene II] Notes 2OI 

Macb. ii. 3. 2, M. W. i. 4. 5, Much Ado, v. 2. 98, and 2 Hen. IV. ii. 
4. 21. Cf. the slang phrase of our day, " a high old time," and other 
familiar uses of old (" old fellow," "old boy," etc.). 


SCENE I. 4. Troilus. S. in the play of Troilus and Cressida 
makes " Cressid " the daughter of the soothsayer Calchas, but her 
name is not found in classic fable. The allusion here is borrowed 
from Chaucer's Troilus and Cresseide, in which the prince is 
described as watching " upon the walles " for Cressida's coming. 

7. Thisbe. The story of the Babylonian lovers, Pyramus and 
Thisbe, is told by Ovid. Golding's translation was published in 
1564, but S. may have read the original. He probably drew more 
directly from Chaucer's Legende of Goode Women, in which Thisbe, 
Dido, and Medea are introduced one after another. He had already 
used the story in the M. N. D. 

10. Dido. The picture of Dido is not in accordance with Virgil's 
narrative. It may have been suggested by that of Ariadne in the 
Legende of Goode Women (2187 fol.) : 

41 to the stronde barefote fast she went. 

Hire kerchefe on a pole styked shee, 
Ascaunce that he shulde hyt wel ysee, 
And hym remembre that she was behynde, 
And turn agayne, and on the stronde hire fynde." 

The earliest reference to the willow as a symbol of forsaken love 
is found in a manuscript collection of poems by John Heywood, 
about 1530. Cf. Much Ado, ii. I. 194, 225, Oth. iv. 3. 28 fol., 
3 Hen. VI. iii. 3. 228, etc. 

I':. Waft. For wafted, as in K. John, ii. I. 73 : "Than now the 
English bottoms have waft o'er." Cf. lift for lifted in I Hen. VI. 
\. i. 1 6, Genesis, vii. 17, Psalms, xciii. 3, etc* 

2O2 Notes [Act v 

13. Medea. The allusion is to the fable of her restoring ALson, 
the father of Jason, to youthful vigour by her enchantments. Ovid 
tells us that she drew blood from his veins, and supplied its place 
with the juice of certain herbs. 

16. Unthrift. We have the adjective again in T. of A. iv. 3. 311, 
and the noun in Rich. II. ii. 3. 122, Sonn. 9. 9 and 13. 13. 

28. Stephano. In the Temp, (written ten or more years later) 
this name has the accent on the first syllable, where it belongs. 

31. Holy crosses. These are very common in Italy. There is a 
shrine of the Madonna del Mare in the midst of the sea between 
Mestre and Venice, and another between Venice and Palestrina, 
where the gondolier and mariner cross themselves in passing. 

36. Go we in. See on ii. 8. 53 above. In "let us prepare," in 
the next line, we have the ordinary form of the 1st pers. imperative. 

39. Sola, etc. An imitation of the post-horn. 

41. Master Lorenzo, etc. The early eds. have " M. Lorenzo, 
M. Lorenzo," " M. Lorenzo & M. Lorenzo," and " M. Lorenzo and 
Mrs. Lorenza." 

53. Music. This word sometimes meant musical instruments, or 
a band of music. See Hen. VIII. iv. 2. 94 : " Bid the music leave ; 
They are harsh," etc. Cf. 98 below : " It is your music, madam, of 
the house." 

56. Creep in. In was often used for into. 

59. Patines. The patine was the plate used for. the sacramental 
bread, and was sometimes made of goldo Some editors prefer 
" patterns," L he reading of the 2d folio. 

61. His mrtion* His for its, as in 82 below. See on iii. 2. 82 
above. For ether allusions to the " music of the spheres " in S., 
see A. and C. v. 2. 84, T. N. iii. I. 121, A. Y. L. ii. 7. 6, etc. 

62. Cherubins. The singular cherubin is found in Temp. i. 2. 
152, Macb. i. 7. 22, Oth. iv. 2. 62, and L. C. 319; cherub only in 
Ham. iv. 3. 50. Cherubin occurs m Spenser and other poets of the 
time, and is used even by Dryden. 

63. Such harmony, etc. Besides the music of the spheres, which 

Scene I] Notes 203 

no mortal ear ever caught a note of, there was by some philosophers 
supposed to be a harmony in the human soul. " Touching musical 
harmony," says Hooker, " whether by instrument or by voice, it 
being but of high and low sounds in a due proportionable disposition, 
such, notwithstanding, is the force thereof, and so pleasing effects 
it hath in that very part of man which is most divine, that some 
have been thereby induced to think that the soul itself, by nature 
is, or hath in it, harmony." But, though this harmony is within us, 
" this muddy vesture of decay," as the poet tells us, " doth grossly 
close it in " so that we cannot hear it. 

72. Unhandled colts. Cf. Ariel's simile of the " unback'd colts," 
Temp. iv. I. 176. 

77. Mutual. Common. Cf. M. N. D. iv. I. 122 : " mutual cry," 
etc. The confounding of imitual and common (as in "mutual 
friend," etc.) is a familiar blunder nowadays. 

79. The poet. Probably Ovid, who tells the story in his 

80. Orpheus. Cf. T. G. of V. iii. 2. 78 : 

" For Orpheus' lute was strung with poet's sinews, 
Whose golden touch could soften steel and stones," etc. ; 

and^. VIII. iii. 1.3: 

" Orpheus with his lute made trees, 
And the mountain tops that freeze, 
Bow themselves when he did sing." 

87. Erebus. Cf. /. C. ii. I. 84: "Not Erebus itself were dim 
enough," etc. The word, though sometimes used figuratively for 
the lower world in general, denotes strictly " a place of nether dark- 
ness between the Earth and Hades." 

99. Without respect. Absolutely, without regard to circum- 

103. Attended. Attended to, listened to attentively. Cf. Sonn. 
102. 7 : 

204 Notes [Act v 

" As Philomel in summer's front doth sing, 
And stops her pipe in growth of riper days; 
Not that the summer is less pleasant now 
Than when her mournful hymns did hush the night, 
But that wild music burthens every bough, 
And sweets grown common lose their dear delight." 

All the birds mentioned here the crow, lark, cuckoo, etc. are 
found in Italy. 

107. By season^ etc. " By fitness of occasion are adapted or 
qualified to obtain their just appreciation, and to show their true 

109. Peace, ho ! In J. C. i. 2. I we find " Peace, ho ! " used, as 
here, to silence the music. 

Endymion. A beautiful shepherd beloved by Diana. Fletcher, 
in the Faithful Shepherdess, tells 

" How the pale Phoebe, hunting in a grove, 
First saw the boy Endymion, from whose eyes 
She took eternal fire that never dies ; 
How she convey 'd him softly in a sleep, 
His temples bound with poppy, to the steep 
Head of old Latmos, where she stoops each night, 
Gilding the mountain with her brother's light, 
To kiss her sweetest." 

The fable appears in many forms in the classic writers, and has 
been a favourite one with poets ever since. 

115. Which speed. See on ii. 7. 4 above. 

121. A tucket sounds. This stage direction is found in the 1st 
folio. A tucket (probably from the Italian toccata) is a flourish on 
a trumpet. Cf. Hen. V. iv. 2. 35 : " Then let the trumpet sound 
The tucket-sonance." 

127. We should hold day, etc. We should have day when the 
Antipodes do, if you, Portia, would walk abroad at night. 

Scene I] Notes 205 

129. Let me give light, etc. See on iii. 2. 91 above. Puns on 
\ight and dark and light and heavy are frequent in S. 

132. God sort all! God dispose all things! Cf. Rich. III. ii. 

t. ?6 : 

41 All may be well ; but if God sort it so, 

'T is more than we deserve or I expect." 

136. In all sense. In all reason. 

141. Breathing courtesy. Cf. Macb.v. 3. 27: "Mouth-honour, 

146. Poesy. The poesy or posy (for the two words are the same) 
of a ring was a motto or rhyme inscribed upon its inner side. 
The fashion of putting such " posies " on rings prevailed from the 
middle of the sixteenth to the close of the seventeenth centuries. 
In 1624 a little book was published with the quaint title, Love's 
Garland, or Posies for Rings, Handkerchiefs, and Gloves ; and such 
pretty tokens, that lovers send their loves. Cf. Ham. iii. 2. 1 62 : 
" Is this a prologue, or the poesy of a ring?" These are the only 
instances in which S. uses the word in this sense. 

148. Leave me not. Do not part with me. Leave is used in the 
same sense by Portia in 1 70 below. 

154. Respective. Considerate, regardful. Cf. R. and J. iii. 1. 1282 
"respective lenity." See also K.John, \. I. 188. 

156. On 's. See on ii. 6. 67 above. 

1 60. Scrubbed. Stunted, dwarfish; generally used contempt- 

175. I were best. See on ii. 8. 33 above. 

191. The ring. For the repetition in this and the following 
speech, Herford compares K. John, iii. I. 12-15 anc ^ Rich. III. i. 3. 
292-294. See also Edward III. ii. I. 155-163, where nine lines 
end with " the sun." 

197. The virtue of the ring. The power it has; the right to me 
and mine of which it is the pledge. See iii. 2. 171, where Portia 
gives the ring. 

199. Contain. Retain; as in Sonn. 77.9: "what thy memory 

206 Notes [Act v 

cannot contain," etc. Your honour refers to his pledge in iii. 2. 


202. Had pleased to have defended. For " had pleased to de- 
fend." The inaccuracy is sometimes found in good writers of our 
day, and has sometimes been defended by grammarians. 

203. Wanted. As to have wanted. 

204. Urge. Urge you to give it to him; insist upon it. Cere* 
mony a sacred thing. 

208. Civil doctor. Doctor of civil law. 

218. For, by these, etc. Cf. R. and J. iii. 5. 9: "Night's candles 
are burnt out"; Macb. ii. I. 5: "There's husbandry in heaven; 
Their candles are all out," etc. 

237. Wealth. Weal, prosperity; as in Ham. iv. 4. 27: "much 
wealth and peace." 

238. Which. That is, which loan. 

239. Miscarried. Perished; as in ii. 8. 29 and iii. 2. 311 

241. Advisedly. Deliberately. Cf. advised m \. I. 142 and ii. I. 
42 above. 

257. Richly. Richly laden. Cf. "richly left," i. I. 161 above. 

260. Living. See on livings, iii. 2. 156 above. 

262. To road. To harbour. Cf. " ports, and piers, and roads,*' 
i. I. 19 above. 

270. Satisfied of. Satisfied concerning ; that is, you wish to 
know more about them. At full in full, fully. 

272. And charge us, etc. " In the Court of Queen's Bench, 
when a complaint is made against a person for 'contempt,' the 
practice is that before sentence is finally pronounced he is sent 
into the Crown Office, and being there 'charged upon interroga- 
tories ' he is made to swear that he will answer all things faith- 
fully' " (Lord Campbell's Shakespeare's Legal Acquirements). 

Inter' gator ies. This contracted form was common in S.'s time. 
We find it even in prose in A. W. iv. 3. 207, as printed in the 
early eds. The full form occurs in K.John, iii. I. 147. 



ANTONIO AND His FRIENDS. Antonio gives the name to the 
play, though not in a sense its hero, because, through his relations 
with Bassanio and with Shylock, he is the mainspring of the action. 
He is one of Shakespeare's most beautiful characters. Professor 
Moulton {Shakespeare as a Dramatic Artist} calls him " a perfect 
character," his intolerance, interpreted in the light of his time, 
being a virtue rather than a fault. But it 1 seems to me that the 
critic misapprehends the type of Antonio's perfection. He says 
that " Roman honour " is the idea which the Merchant's friends 
are accustomed to associate with him; and he adds: "Of all the 
national types of character the Roman is the most self-sufficient, 
alike incorruptible by temptation and independent of the softer 
influences of life." Antonio is incorruptible, the very soul of 
honour, and it is to this that Bassanio refers in ascribing to him the 
" ancient Roman honour." He would not have added the Roman 
sternness and impassivity, the lack of sensibility to the softer in- 
fluences of life. 

Mistaking Antonio in this way, Professor Moulton naturally does 
injustice to the group of friends with whom we find him associated 
in the opening scene. Here, he says, " we see the dignified mer- 
chant-prince suffering under the infliction of frivolous visitors, to 
which his friendship with the young nobleman exposes him." The 
German Gervinus in like manner regards these friends, Bassanio 
included, as mere parasites; and Heine terms them "only so- 
called friends, 'or, if you please, only half or three-quarters friends," 
having " due regard to their own ease," in their apparent devotion 
to " the excellent merchant who gave them such fine dinners." 



208 Appendix 

There may be nothing in the first scene which makes it abso. 
lately certain that Antonio's friends are not selfish "summer 
friends " (such as the dramatist introduces in Timon of Athens} ; 
but elsewhere in the play the question is settled past a doubt. Their 
love for him endures the crucial test of adversity. When news of the 
loss of his ships begins to come (ii. 8) Salanio says to Salarino : 

" You were best to tell Antonio what you hear ; 
Yet do not suddenly, for it may grieve him ; " 

and his friend replies : " A kinder gentleman treads not the earth.'* 
Then follows that exquisite passage in which the parting of Antonio 
and Bassanio is described; and Salanio adds: 

" I think he only loves the world for him. 
I pray thee, let us go and find him out, 
And quicken his embraced heaviness 
With some delight or other." 

Later on (Hi. i), when more bad news comes and Antonio is 
threatened with bankruptcy, the devotion of these friends is none 
the less to be noted and, as in the former instance, when they 
are by themselves, and can have no motive for playing a false part. 
Salanio speaks of the Merchant as " the good Antonio O that I 
had a title good enough to keep his name company ! " Gratiano 
also calls him " the good Antonio," and in the trial scene he cannot 
find language intense enough to express his grief and wrath on 
account of the Jew's merciless spite against Antonio, and his exult- 
ant irony when the Daniel come to judgment has decided in favour 
of the Merchant. Can these be parasitical friends? 

Antonio has been often called a " melancholy " man, but he is 
not such by nature, though grave and earnest. At the opening of 
the play the shadow of coming misfortune already hangs over him. 
He is sad, he knows' not why, but it is the poet's fondness for pre- 
sentiments that has made him so. It surprises his friends, which, 
no less than his own comments upon it, indicates that it is not his 
ordinary mood. We are sure that he must be usually genial, or he 

Appendix 209 

could not attract these lively young men, who, as we have seen, are 
no parasites ; and we infer from their talk that he can even be 
merry at times, though probably in no boisterous way. 

In but one instance (see note on iv. I. 274) does he indulge in a 
pun, and it is the most pathetic pun in all Shakespeare. It is in 
what he supposes is to be his last speech before he dies: 

" Repent not you that you shall lose your friend, 
And he repents not that he pays your debt ; 
For if the Jew do cut but deep enough, 
I '11 pay it instantly with all my heart" 

He puns that never punned before, out of pure love and pity for 
his friend, whom he would fain keep from grieving at his death. 
And this is the man who has been called " insensible to the softer 
influences of life ! " 

In the last scene of the play, where we see Antonio relieved from 
the anxiety of the past two or three months, he has little to say, but 
that little is in the same unselfish vein. He is troubled at the 
apparent misunderstanding about the rings, and says, ' I am the 
unhappy subject of these quarrels "; and he tries to make peace by 
offering to become surety for Bassanio's good faith in the future. 

This man, as I have said, is a favourite with Shakespeare, but 
Shakespeare is never afraid to show the faults and weaknesses of 
his best characters. He did not regard Antonio's treatment of the 
Jew as a "virtue," although that was the medieval view of it. 
Here, as everywhere, he holds the mirror up to nature, letting it 
reflect the age as it was. If we consider what was then the general 
feeling towards the Jews, and with what bitter contempt and detes- 
tation they were regarded, even by the best Christians, how they 
were abused, robbed, and persecuted, we cannot wonder at the 
repugnance and scorn which the good Antonio manifests towards 
Shylock that he calls him "dog," and spits upon him. When 
the Jew reminds him of these " courtesies " at the time when he is 
asking the loan, Antonio replies : 

MER. OF YEN. 14 

2IO Appendix 

" I am as like to call thee so again, 
To spet on thee again, to spurn thee too. 
If thou wilt lend this money, lend it not 
As to thy friends ; for when did friendship take 
A breed of barren metal of his friend ? 
But lend it rather to thine enemy, 
Who if he break, thou mayst with better face 
Exact the penalty." 

Shakespeare meant that Antonio should remember that speech 
and that we should remember it when later he is fain to beg 
mercy of the "dog" he has despised and defied, and gets for 
answer : 

" Thou call'dst me dog before thou hadst a cause; 
But, since I am a dog, beware my fangs." 

SHYLOCK. There are those who believe that Shakespeare shared 
the prejudice of his time against the Jew; but to me nothing can 
be clearer than that he has indirectly and the more effectively 
because indirectly exposed and reproved its injustice. Here, as 
so often in his works, he proves himself far in advance of his age. 
Shylock is thwarted and punished, as he deserved to be; but he 
shows his Christian adversaries that they have taught him the lesson 
of revenge ; that if the Jewish maxim be " an eye for an eye, and a 
tooth for a tooth," it has been fully indorsed and adopted by the 
Christian an iron rule in place of his professed golden one. " If 
you wrong us," he reasons, " shall we not revenge? If we are like 
you in the rest, we will resemble you in that. If a Jew wrong a 
Christian, what is his humility? Revenge. If a Christian wrong a 
Jew, what should his sufferance be, by Christian example? Why, 
revenge. The villany you teach me, I will execute; and it shall go 
hard but I will better the instruction." 

There is no possible answer to this, and it is a most significant 
fact that Shakespeare makes his Christians attempt none. Shylock 
is left master of the field; and this is the method the poet chooses 

Appendix 21 1 

for reading a high moral lesson to the men of his time. Had he 
ventured to do it more openly and directly, the play would have 
been hooted from the stage. 

It is safe, I think, to say that a decided majority of the commen- 
tators and critics are now agreed that Shakespeare's sympathies are 
with Shylock as the representative of a wronged and persecuted 
race; and some of those on the other side appear to be there solely 
because, as they say, Shakespeare was a dramatist and not a moral 
teacher; or, as one of them expresses it, "he was too thoroughly 
an artist to write a play with a moral purpose." Another says that, 
if he had intended to enforce the lesson of toleration and charity 
with regard to the Jews, he would not have selected " a rich mer- 
chant plotting the murder of a Christian rival by means of a fraudu- 
lent contract "; nor would he have made Shylock argue that " Jews 
had a right to turn devils as freely as Christians had." 

The answer to all this is easy and simple. Shakespeare did not 
write the play to enforce the moral lesson. His purpose was to 
dramatize a story, or combination of stories, which he found ready 
to his hand, or which may have been suggested to him by the 
manager of a theatre. But in depicting the Jew in the story he 
saw him and his race as they were, not as they appeared to the 
Christians of his time. He saw all that was bad in Shylock, but he 
saw as well that the evil in him was mainly due to the treatment 
he had received at the hands of the Christians. He was too great 
a master of his art to preach his moral; and he knew that there 
was no necessity for doing it. He simply sets the Jew himself 
before us as he is, nothing extenuating but setting down naught in 
malice, and the man gains oiir sympathy at once and inevitably. 
Heine says : " When I saw this play at Drury Lane, there stood 
(behind me in the box a pale, fair Briton who, at the end of the 
fourth act, fell to weeping passionately, exclaiming several times, 
'The poor man is wronged ! ' It was a face of the noblest Grecian 
type, and the eyes were large and black. I have never been able 
to forget those large and black eyes that wept for S.hylock." We 

212 Appendix 

may not weep with the fair English girl, but we cannot help sharing 
her pity and sympathy for Shylock; and in this result the genius 
of the poet, or, as Heine expresses it, " the genius of humanity that 
reigned in him," is triumphant over vulgar prejudice and fanaticism. 
It would take too much space to explain in detail how Shake- 
speare accomplishes this in his delineation of the Jew : by making 
him one of his most intellectual characters; by giving him a gener- 
ous enthusiasm for his ancient race, religion, and law; and by little 
touches showing that he is not destitute of tenderness, or at least 
of reminiscences of tenderness, as when he mourns the loss of the 
ring that Leah gave him when he was a bachelor. There was one 
soft spot in his heart, though the rest might be as hard as Gratiano 
intimated when he exclaimed, while Shylock was whetting his knife 
in the trial scene : 

" Not on thy sole, but on thy soul, harsh Jew, 
Thou mak'st thy knife keen." 

If the reader would understand better that Shylock is what he is 
because Shakespeare was what we know him to be, a poet not for 
an age, but for all time, let him read Mario we'sy<?w of Malta, and 
compare the hero with Shylock. The latter, with all his avarice 
and cruelty, is a man ; the former is an impossible monster, who . 
boasts that he "walks abroad o' nights, and kills sick persons 
groaning under walls " ; poisons wells, and studies physic that he 
may keep the sextons busy " with digging graves and ringing dead 
men's knells"; by his extortions fills jails with bankrupts, and hos- 
pitals with orphans; chuckles when his victims hang themselves in 
their despair; and finally dies unrepentant and defiant, with curses 
on his lips against these enemies and infidels. But this is the ideal 
Jew of Marlowe's and Shakespeare's generation ! 

And Martin Luther was no less prejudiced and intolerant. He 
wrote thus : " Know, thou dear Christian, that, next to the devil, 
thou canst have no bitterer, fiercer foe than a genuine Jew, one 
who is a Jew in earnest. The true counsel I give thee is that fire 

Appendix 213 

be put to their synagogues, and that, over what will not burn up, 
the earth be heaped and piled, so that no stone or trace of them be 
seen forevermore." * 

PORTIA. About Portia there has been, and can be, but little 
room for critics to differ and dispute. They are few who do not 
cordially agree with Mrs. Kemble that she is " the ideal of the per- 
fect woman " that she realizes Wordsworth's description of such 

" A perfect woman, nobly planned 

To warn, to comfort, and command," 
and yet 

41 A creature not too bright or good 
For human nature's daily food ; 
For transient sorrows, simple wiles, 
Praise, blame, love, kisses, tears, and smiles." 

She is, in the words of the same sympathetic critic, " the wise, witty 
woman, loving with all her soul and submitting with all her heart 
to a man whom everybody but herself (who was the best judge) 
would have judged her inferior; the laughter-loving, light-hearted, 
true-hearted, deep-hearted woman, full of keen perception, of 
active efficiency, of wisdom prompted by love, of tenderest unselfish- 
ness, of generous magnanimity; noble, simple, humble, pure; true, 
dutiful, religious, and full of fun; delightful above all others, the 
woman of women." 

I quote this because, in brief compass, it brings out all the 
marked features of the character. What can we add to it ? What 
can we take away? 2 

As I have hinted, a small minority of the critics have their dis- 
paraging comments on Portia. Hazlitt says that she is " not a 
great favourite " with him; she " has a certain degree of affectation 
and pedantry about her." Mr. C. A. Brown cannot go so far as 

1 From Furness's " New Variorum " edition of the play, p. 453. 

2 If anything, the intimation that Bassanio was not entirely worthy of 
Portia ; but, as Mrs. Kemble admits, Portia was the best judge of that. 

214 Appendix 

Hazlitt does, but thinks she is not quite so amiable as Mrs. Jameson 
makes her out; he calls her "a feudal lady," who seems to "re- 
joice in laying down the law, and feels a triumphant delight while 
she detains the court in suspense." Hudson considers that she is 
at times " too self-conscious," though he sees " nothing like ostenta- < 
tion or conceit of intellect " in her. 

These criticisms are all in the same vein, and Hazlitt's, being the 
most severe, may be taken as including the rest; but Hazlitt, 
though an acute critic, had his moods and prejudices, and he doubt- 
less wrote what I have quoted when he was not in the humour for 
appreciating a character like Portia. Certainly we can find noth- 
ing of pedantry or affectation in her, even when she is playing the 
doctor's part at the trial. An inferior woman, " coached " for the 
occasion by the learned Bellario, would have been likely to overdo 
the part in the endeavour to carry it out successfully and effectively. 
She would have behaved more like a young lawyer in all the pride 
of his first case in court, who felt that the aid and advice of his 
experienced senior had insured his success. But Portia maintains 
throughout the quiet dignity of a truly great lawyer, who is tempted 
to no affectation of learning, no display of legal acumen, but states 
his case clearly, simply, and briefly. The only eloquent passage in 
her management of the cause using the word in its ordinary 
sense is in the famous plea for mercy, which is surely not a dis- 
play of rhetoric, but a natural outburst from the heart. In short, 
her bearing from first to last is as modest as it is dignified. 

Elsewhere in the play her modest opinion of herself is repeatedly 
illustrated. She speaks of the suitors who come to hazard for her 
"worthless self"; and in that matchless speech after Bassanio has 
chosen the right casket, she disclaims ambition for herself, but 

adds : 

" Yet for you 

I would be trebled twenty times myself, 

A thousand times more fair, ten thousand times more rich, 

That only to stand high in your account, 

I might in virtues, beauties, livings, friends, 

Appendix 215 

Exceed account. But the full sum of me 
Is sum of nothing, which, to term in gross, 
Is an unlesson'd girl, unschool'd, unpractis'd: 
Happy in this, she is not yet so old 
But she may learn ; happier than this, 
She is not bred so dull but she can learn; 
Happiest of all in that her gentle spirit 
Commits itself to yours to be directed, 
As from her lord, her governor, her king. 
Myself and what is mine to you and yours 
Is now converted. But now I was the lord 
Of this fair mansion, master of my servants, 
Queen o'er myself; and even now, but now, 
This house, these servants, and this same myself 
Are yours, my lord. I give them with this ring." 

is there any " pedantry " in that ? Is this noble heiress, who thus 
frankly gives herself and all that is hers to the lover who has won 
her, affected and vain ? The utmost that she claims for herself is 
that she is not so dull but she can learn which is far enough from 
the pride of pedantry. Mr. Grant White was not fond of learned 
women, or, at least, of a certain type of such women, but even 
he does no injustice to Portia. He sums up her character in -a 
single sentence as " the matchless impersonation of that rare 
woman who is gifted even more in intellect Jlian_J_nJoyeliness, and 
who yet stops gracefully short of the offence of intellectuality." 
The word intellectuality, as he uses it, seems to bear somewhat the 
same relation to intellect that sentimentality does to sentiment, sug- 
gesting a self-consciousness or self-conceit which is an essential ele- 
ment in pedantry. It carries a certain degree of reproach with it; 
but White is unquestionably right in acknowledging that, with all 
her high intellectual endowments, Portia is nowise liable to the 
charge of "intellectuality." 

The lighter and more playful side of Portia's character is well 
displayed in the very first scene in which she appears. Her descrip- 
tions of the suitors are as witty as they are graphic, showing alike . 

2 1 6 Appendix 

her insight into character and her love of fun. How completely 
the men are photographed in a sentence or two ! The Neapolitan 
prince " doth nothing but talk of his horse." But a " horsey " man 
is not necessarily a fool, like this fellow who plumes himself on 
being able to shoe his horse. He is a prince, but his highest ambi 
tion is to be his own blacksmith. Do we need to know anything 
more about him ? What a husband for the peerless Portia if the 
lottery of the caskets had given her to him ! But, as Nerissa philo- 
sophically remarks, "holy men at their death have good inspira- 
tions," and her father's device for getting her a mate is likely to be 
governed by a wise Providence. She will escape this unprincely 
prince; and the morose and self-conceited County Palatine, like a 
death's head with a bone in his mouth; and the volatile French 
lord, who would be twenty husbands in one, and that one worth- 
less; and the young baron of England, who has travelled in many 
lands and brought home nothing but his motley apparel and his 
mcngrel behaviour; and the cowardly Scotchman, who lacks the 
spirit to return a blow, but swears he will do it some day; and the 
guzzling German, who at his best is worse than a man, and at his 
worst is little better than a beast. Luckily this parcel of wooers 
will trouble the lady with no more suit, unless she may be won 
otherwise than by the chance of the caskets; and we may be sure 
that she is sincere in wishing them a fair departure. 

But, as Mrs. Jameson remarks, " all the finest parts of Portia's 
character are brought to bear in the trial scene"; and here I 
cannot do better than to go on with her admirable comments on 
the scene, instead of attempting to make any of my own : 

"There she shines forth, all her divine self. Her intellectual 
powers, her elevated sense of religion, her high honourable princi- 
ples, her best feelings as a woman, are all displayed. She maintains 
at first a calm self-command, as one sure of carrying her point in 
the end; yet the painful heart-thrilling uncertainty in which she 
keeps the whole court until suspense verges upon agony, is not con- 
trived for effect merely; it is necessary and inevitable. . . . Thus all 

Appendix 217 

the speeches addressed to Shylock in the first instance are either 
direct or indirect experiments on his temper and feelings. She 
must be understood from the beginning to the end as examining, 
with intense anxiety, the effect of her own words on his mind and 
countenance; as watching for that relenting spirit which she hopes 
to awaken either by reason or persuasion. She begins by an appeal 
to his mercy, in that matchless piece of eloquence which, with an 
irresistible and solemn pathos, falls upon the heart like gentle dew 
from heaven ' : but in vain; for that blessed dew drops not more 
fruitless and unfelt on the parched sand of the desert, than do these 
heavenly words upon the ear of Shylock. She next attacks his 
avarice : 

" ' Shylock, there's thrice thy money offered thee ! * 

Then she appeals, in the same breath, both to his avarice and his 

'"Be merciful ! 
Take thrice thy money. Bid me tear the bond.' 

All that she says afterwards her strong expressions, which are 
calculated to strike a shuddering horror through the nerves, the 
reflections she interposes, her delays and circumlocution to give 
time for any latent feeling of commiseration to display itself, all, 
all are premeditated, and tend in the same manner to the object 
she has in view. 1 

" So unwilling is her sanguine and generous spirit to resign all 
hope, or to believe that humanity is absolutely extinct in the bosom 
of the Jew, that she calls on Antonio, as a last resource, to speak 
for himself. His gentle, yet manly resignation, the deep pathos of 
his farewell, and the affectionate allusion to herself in his last address 
to Bassanio : 

" ' Commend me to your honourable wife ; 
Say how I lov'd you, speak me fair in death/ etc. 

1 This is a sufficient answer to Mr. C. A. Brown's criticism, that she 
delights in keeping the court in suspense. 

2 1 8 Appendix 

are well calculated to swell that emotion which through the whole 
scene must have been labouring suppressed within her heart. 

" At length the crisis arrives, for patience and womanhood can 
endure no longer; and when Shylock, carrying his savage bent ' to the 
last hour of act,' springs on his victim * A sentence ! come, prepare ! ' 
then the smothered scorn, indignation, and disgust burst forth with 
an impetuosity which interferes with the judicial solemnity she had' 
at first affected, particularly in the speech 

'"Therefore, prepare thee to cut off the flesh,' etc. 

But she afterwards recovers her propriety, and triumphs with a 
cooler scorn and a more self-possessed exultation. 

" It is clear that, to feel the full force and dramatic beauty of this 
marvellous scene, we must go along with Portia as well as with 
Shylock ; we must understand her concealed purpose, keep in mind 
her noble motives, and pursue in our fancy the undercurrent of 
feeling working in her mind throughout. The terror and the power 
of Shylock's character, his deadly and inexorable malice, would be 
too oppressive, the pain and pity too intolerable, and the horror of 
the possible issue too overwhelming, but for the intellectual relief 
afforded by this double source of interest and contemplation." 

BASSANIO. Bassanio has been misrepresented and underrated 
by some of the critics, and the reason is not far to seek. In a play, 
as in real life, a person may have a part not at all proportionate to 
his abilities, and may consequently fail to be appreciated as he 
deserves. In the present play Portia has great and varied oppor- 
tunities ; hence she can display her great and varied endowments. 
Bassanio, on the other hand, has nothing to do except to marry 
Portia, who was practically won before the play begins. The 
prominent part she has in' the action, and the power and grace 
with which she discharges it, throw her husband completely into 
the shade. As Nerissa tells us, he is " a scholar and a soldier " 
(we have the ideal man of the time in that simple statement), but 
he has no opportunity to prove himself either soldier or scholar. 

Appendix 219 

To a careless observer he seems to be, as he has often been called, 
a fortune-hunter ; but Shakespeare is quick to foresee any possible 
injustice we may do his favourite characters and to guard them well 
against it, and he has done so in this instance. When Bassanio 
tells Antonio about Portia, note how her fortune is subordinated to 
her beauty and her character : 

" In Belmont is a lady richly left ; 
And she is fair and, fairer than that word, 
Of wondrous virtues." 

He has met her, moreover, and, as we learn in the next scene, 
before her father's death ; and, like Ferdinand and Miranda in 
The Tempest, at the first sight they " changed eyes." To remove 
any possible doubt that the budding love was mutual, and that 
Bassanio had not misapprehended the " fair speechless messages " 
from the lady's eyes, the dramatist gives us that exquisite bit of 
dialogue (i. 2. 112 fol.) in which the sly Nerissa, whose feminine 
instinct has, perhaps, been quicker to discern the true state of the 
case than the lovers themselves, entraps her mistress into an in- 
voluntary betrayal of her interest in the young man : 

"Nerissa. Do you not remember, lady, in your father's time, 
a Venetian, a scholar and a soldier, that came hither in company 
of the Marquis of Montferrat ? 

Portia. Yes, yes, it was Bassanio; as I think, so was he called." 

What significance in the duplication of thatjj/^/ It shows that 
this speech is Portia's impulsive expression of what till then had 
been shut up in her heart. It comes out before she is aware, and 
with quick maidenly shyness she withdraws again into herself, 
covering the retreat by that " as I think, so was he called," "I 
believe that was- the man's name ! " And yet, what critic has 
noticed the delicate touch, or what actress ever rightly rendered it ? 

We see later (iii. 2. 248 fol.) how frankly Bassanio, when .he did 
impart his love to Portia, told her that all the wealth he had ran in 
his veins. Was that done like a fortune-hunter ? 

22O Appendix 

But some may say that, however this may be, Bassanio is in no 
respect a worthy mate for Portia. They will class him with Proteus 
and Claudio (him of Much Ado) and Bertram and others, to whom 
Shakespeare gives wives much too good for them. For myself, I 
cannot put Bassanio in this ignoble company. If, as we have seen, 
he is the mere "walking gentleman" of the stage, he is a gentle- 
man in the best sense of the term, a man after Shakespeare's own 
heart, and not unworthy of the friendship of Antonio and the love 
of Portia. In the matter of the caskets, as Dowden well says, 
" Bassanio is ennobled in our eyes by his choice ; for the gold, 
silver, and lead, with their several inscriptions, are a test of true 
lovers." He " does not come as a needy adventurer to choose the 
golden casket, or to ' gain ' or ' get ' anything, but, in the true spirit 
of self-abandoning love, to ' give,' not to ' get,' ' and hazard all he 
hath '; and, having dared to give all, he gains all." And the 
manner in which he receives this great good gift of Fortune is 
characteristic. It is not the manner of the Jason who has won 
the golden fleece and exults in the prize. He can scarce believe 
that he has gained the lady, and stands bewildered, doubtful 
whether it can be true, until confirmed, signed, ratified by her. 
When his friends from Venice arrive a little later, what delicacy in 
his greeting ! 

" Lorenzo and Salerio, welcome hither ; 

If that the youth of my new interest here 

Have power to bid you welcome. By your leave, 

I bid my very friends and countrymen, 

Sweet Portia, welcome." 

The lady had already recognized him as " her lord, her governor, 
her king," and had said : 

" Myself and what is mine to you and yours 
Is now converted." 

And how easily and confidently the man who had an eye to her 
fortune rather than to herself would have entered into possession 

Appendix 221 

on such a warrant! Bassanio, overwhelmed with the gift of 
herself, cannot yet give a thought to his rights in what is hers. 
Though lord of the fair mansion, the first claim upon his hospitality 
takes him by surprise, and he appeals to Portia for authority to 
exercise his newly acquired rights and privileges. 

Several commentators agree in thinking that Portia selected the 
Song in this scene in order to give Bassanio a clue to the right 
casket. One of them remarks : " Its general purport may be stated 
to be : * Do not choose by the eye by the glittering outside 
for it is the source of all delusion.' Hence Portia, after observing 
with the greatest care all the formalities of her father's will, breaks 
it just at the point of its conflict with her subjective right " ; that is, 
her right to choose her own husband. The critic believes that she 
is fully justified in doing this. But she has declared in the first 
speech of this very scene that she will not do it : 

11 1 could teach you 

How to choose right, but then I am forsworn ; 
So will I never be. So may you miss me; 
But if you do, you'll make me wish a sin, 
That I had been forsworn." 

Earlier in the play (i. 2. 106) she has said : " If I live to be as old 
as Sibylla, I will die as chaste as Diana, unless I be obtained by the 
manner of my father's will." In both cases we cannot doubt that 
she means what she says. 

For myself I do not believe that she had anything to do with 
the selection of the song, which was probably left to the leader of 
her household band of musicians (like the music for which Lorenzo 
calls in v. I. 66); but if she selected it, this was done before the 
scene opened, and before she declares to Bassanio that she will 
never " teach him how to choose right." 

I suspect that it would never have occurred to the commentators 
that the song had a purpose if they had not been misled by the 
first line the first word indeed of Bassanio's speech that fol- 

222 Appendix 

lows : " So may the outward shows be least themselves." But the 
So connects what he says, not with any suggestion of the song, but 
with what has been going on in his mind while he was studying the 
caskets. The thought that appearances are deceitful has already 
occurred to him, and he continues the train of reasoning that it 
starts. It is this that leads him to choose the meagre lead that 
rather threatens than promises aught that bids him "give and 
hazard all he hath " rather than seek what many men desire, or 
hope to get what he may deserve. This inscription on the leaden 
casket is Shakespeare's own, not taken, like the others, from the 
old stories; and he doubtless intended that we should recognize 
the unselfishness of genuine love at which it hints as the clue to the 
right choice. 

nate characters in the plays deserve more study than they ordinarily 
get. Charles Cowden-Clarke, in his Shakespeare Characters, takes 
up, as the title-page, states, " chiefly those subordinate"; but the 
commentators generally have not much to say about them. In the 
present play, for instance, these two princes have seldom been 
noticed, and the few slight criticisms upon them seem to me very 
unsatisfactory. Henry Morley takes Morocco to represent " the 
love of money and what money can buy," while Arragon represents 
"the pride of rank." The latter statement is obviously true, but 
the former is absolutely without support in the text. Koenig thinks 
that " what Morocco calls love is nothing but a desire to possess 
Portia for her wealth and her fair reputation, a purely superficial 
affection, not an honest love down deep in the heart"; and "Por- 
tia's assurance that he stood as fair as any other of her suitors con- 
veys to us, who know what her feelings towards those others are, a 
keen satire, which becomes extremely comic when Morocco thanks 
her for it." Now, to me nothing can be clearer than that Morocco 
has an honest love for Portia, while Arragon has not. We might 
expect that, in a pair of scenes necessarily so much alike as these in 
which the two princes try their luck with the caskets, the dramatist 

Appendix 223 

would endeavour to give variety in this way, which is the only one 
natural or possible; and we might expect, also, that he would make 
Portia recognize the difference in the two suitors, and that this 
would inevitably affect her treatment of them. This is precisely 
what we find on a careful reading of the scenes. Morocco is per- 
mitted to appear twice, a significant fact in itself. In the first 
scene he apparently meets Portia for the first time, and, although 
he has come to Belmont as a mere adventurer for the golden fleece, 
he falls in love with the lady at sight, and avows it at once. She 
cannot help pitying him, and tells him, with gentle courtesy, that 
she is not free to choose a husband, but that, if she were, he would 
stand as fair a chance as any suitor who has yet come to try the 
fortune of the caskets. He is the only one of these who has really 
loved her. Bassanio has not come, and she has no reason to expect 
him. There is no " satire " in what she says, and nothing " comic " 
in Morocco's reply. With the intuition of a lover, he detects the 
sympathetic touch in her words, and thanks her for it. There is a 
lover's delicacy in the expression of his gratitude : " even for that 
I thank you." It is not much in the way of encouragement, but, in 
his " poverty of grace," he thankfully takes what he can get, and 
only very timidly intimates his hope for more hereafter. He begs 
that he may go to his trial at once, though, blind Fortune being 
the arbiter, he may miss the prize " and die with grieving." Portia 
tells him that he must take his chance, reminding him that if he 
chooses wrong he can court no other lady. " Nor will not ! " is 
the prompt and expressive response. If he fails, he will be the 
" cursed'st among men," with no heart for further wooing. When 
he stands before the caskets, he hastily rejects the lead, because it 
" threatens," but tarries long in consideration of the silver, which 
promises " as much as he deserves." His own desert, he thinks, 
"may not extend -so far as to the lady." There spoke the true 
lover; but, like a true lover, he takes heart again, and dares to 
hope he may deserve her. His birth and breeding and fortune 
equal hers. " but more than these" he adds, " in love I do deserve," 

224 Appendix 

and that is no utterance of " a purely superficial affection," as 
the German critic calls it. But before making his choice he will 
look at the " saying graved in gold." " What many men desire ! 
Why, that's the lady ! " And to the end of the speech the one 
theme is " the lady." Alas ! it is his exalted idea of her that leads 
to the fatal decision. It were damnation to imagine her heavenly 
picture shut up in the base lead; nor can she, who is ten times 
undervalued to tried gold, be immured in the inferior silver. Noth- 
ing worse than gold can be the setting of so rich a gem; the 
" angel " (whereon he puns in pretty loverlike fashion) can repose 
only in a golden bed. But it is a carrion skull, not fair Portia's 
counterfeit, that he finds in the deluding gold. He must depart, 
but he has too grieved a heart to take a tedious leave. "A 
gentle riddance," is the kindly comment of the lady when he is 

Enter now the Prince of Arragon, who loves himself better than 
he loves the lady, whose fortune, nevertheless, he fain would 
have. He goes to the trial in business-like fashion,- first making 
sure that the conditions are clearly understood. The gold is not 
for him, because he scorns to choose what many men desire; but 
the silver appeals to his self-sufficiency. He will " assume desert," 
and demands the key of the casket. " Too long a pause for that 
which you find there," Portia cannot help saying, disgusted as she 
is with the arrogant fool. Capell made this speech an aside, because, 
if addressed to Arragon, it has " the sound of twitting him," which 
he thinks is not quite in character. It may possibly be an aside, 
but it is quite in keeping with what she says to him afterwards. He 
considers himself ill-treated. When he finds the portrait of the 
blinking idiot, he says : 

" How much unlike art thou to Portia ! 
How much unlike my hopes and my deservings f 
4 Who chooseth me shall have as much as he deserves.' 
Did / deserve no more than a fool's head ? 
Is that my prize ? Are my deserts no greater ? " 

Appendix 225 

Still " my deserts," as throughout his soliloquy before the caskets, 
and not a word about " the lady," who was the entire burden of 
Morocco's musings. What could be more cutting than Portia's 
quiet reply ? 

" To offend and judge are distinct offices, 
And of opposed natures." 

His offence is in having made a fool of himself; and, being a 
fool, he cannot see himself as others see him. Portia intimates 
pretty plainly what 'her judgment would be; and, in his impotent 
wrath at the issue of his mercenary wooing, he unwittingly passes a 
similar sentence upon himself in his next speech : 

" With one fool's head I came to woo, 
But I go away with two." 

How much unlike the parting of the heart -stricken if not heart- 
broken M^iocco i "Thus hath the candle singed the moth! " is 
Portia's contemptuous comment to Nerissa after the baffled fortune- 
hunter has gone. 

GRATIANO AND NERISSA. The loves of Gratiano and Nerissa 
are kept duly subordinate to those of Bassanio and Portia. Shake- 
speare's fine discrimination is apparent even in the minutest details 
of the delineation of the two couples. In the trial scene, for in- 
stance, the marked difference in speeches that at first sight seem 
almost identical may be noted : 

44 Bassanio. Antonio, I am married to a wife 
Which is as dear to me as life itself; 
But life itself, my wife, and all the world, 
Are not with me esteem'd above thy life. 
1 would lose all, ay, sacrifice them all 
Here to this devil, to deliver you. 

Portia. Your wife would give you little thanks for that, 
If she were by to hear you make the offer. 

Gratiano. 1 have a wife, whom, I protest, I love ; 
I would she were in heaven, so she could 
Entreat some power to change this currish Jew. 

MER. OF YEN.- 15 

226 Appendix 

Nerissa. Tis well you offer it behind her back ; 
The wish would make else an unquiet house." 

If this dialogue were shown to a person wholly unacquainted with 
the rest of the play, and he were asked which pair were the more 
refined in character, and probably the higher in the social scale, 
would he have any difficulty in answering the question? 

Nerissa, as Hunter remarks (New Illustrations of Shakespeare, 
1845) is "not a waiting-maid, in the modern sense of the term," 
but "a young lady," such persons being often found in that day 
" attending on ladiec of superior distinction and fortune." She 
belongs to the same class as Lucetta in 7^he Two Gentlemen of 
Verona, Ursula and Margaret in Mttch Ado, Maria in Twelfth. 
Night, and Helena in All's Well 

Gratiano is a gentleman, like Salanio and Salarino, but not the 
equal of Bassanio in rank and social standing. He goes to Belmont 
with Bassanio as a companion or attendant, apparently holding for 
the time being somewhat the same position with reference to his 
friend as Nerissa does to Portia. Bassanio, as we see (ii. 2. 182, fol.), 
thinks it necessary to give him some serious counsel as to his be- 
haviour while at Belmont. 

I may add what Mrs. Jameson says of the pair : " Nerissa is a 
clever, confidential waiting-woman, who has caught a little of her 
lady's elegance and romance; she affects to be lively and senten- 
tious, falls in love, and makes her favour conditional on the fortune 
of the caskets, and in short, mimics her mistress with good empha- 
sis and discretion. Nerissa and the gay, talkative Gratiano are as 
well matched as the incomparable Portia and her magnificent and 
captivating lover." 

JESSICA. The pretty daughter of the Jew is charming in her 
way, and we do not wonder that Lorenzo, who is a romantic young 
fellow, falls in love with her; but she has little filial feeling. Her 
cool robbery of her father it is cool, as we see from her jesting 
about it (ii. 6. 49) while committing it proves that she is lacking 

Appendix 227 

in moral sense no less than in natural affection. But what has 
Shylock done to make the girl love him or to cultivate her moral 
perceptions? What has she seen in him but miserly greed, un- 
feeling exaction, virtual robbery of the unfortunate; and in his 
treatment of his family a niggardly parsimony that proved his love 
of gold to be paramount to his affection for his own flesh and blood? 
Brought up under such influences and with such surroundings, is it 
strange that she feels no scruple in plundering the father who has 
cheated her young life out of its dues of paternal love, education, 
and kindness even out of its fair share of the good things of a 
merely material sort to which the child of a rich man is entitled ? 
As his only heir she feels that she may help herself to what honestly 
belongs to her, and take by stealth the dowry she can secure in no 
other way. If we cannot quite justify her conduct, we are, never- 
theless, compelled to recommend her to mercy. This, we may be 
sure, was the poet's unspoken verdict in the case. 

Some critics have been severe upon her for eloping with Lorenzo, 
and "leaving her poor old father" to his solitary existence; for it 
is evident that Leah died long ago. But, as Jessica says, " Our 
house is hell," where even the foolery of that merry devil, Launce- 
lot, will be seriously missed when he goes to a new master. And 
Shylock is not the aged man he is often represented on the stage. 
It is doubtful whether we should regard him as more than fifty. 
According to Hazlitt, Kean did not make him " the decrepit old 
man, bent with age," that had formerly been the theatrical Jew. He 
was, we may believe, still strong in body as in mind, and well able to 
take care of himself after his daughter has gone. In his reproaches 
of her he says nothing of his dependence upon her filial attentions 
and services. 


According to pne of the early traditions concerning Shakespeare, 
he was an attorney's clerk for a time before he left Stratford for 

228 Appendix 

London ; and the many references, literal and figurative, in his 
works to technicalities of the law, especially such as are not likely 
to become known to non-professional people, have led Lord Camp- 
bell and other specialists to believe that he must have studied law 
somewhat thoroughly ; but Judge Allen, of the Supreme Judicial 
Court of Massachusetts, in his recent Notes on the Bacon- Shakespeare 
Question (1900), has shown that such legal allusions are equally 
common in other dramatists of the time, and that Shakespeare, 
instead of being uniformly accurate in these matters, as Lord 
Campbell and others have assumed, is often guilty of mistakes 
which a lawyer or student of law would never make. This may 
be regarded as the final word on the question of the supposed legal 
attainments of the dramatist. 

Much has been written on the law in the present play, some taking 
the ground that it favours the theory of Lord Campbell, while others 
say it proves that the play could not have been written by one ac- 
quainted with law. For an interesting summary of the discussion, 
see Furness's " New Variorum " edition of the play, pp. 403-420, 
besides scattered notes on the subject elsewhere in the volume. 
Only one or two points can be referred to here. 

The mention of a "single bond" in i. 3. 141 has been cited in 
support of both sides of the controversy. Lord Campbell says: 
" This bond to Shylock is prepared and talked about according to 
all the forms observed in an English attorney's office. The dis- 
tinction between a single bond ' and a ' bond with a condition ' is 
clearly referred to." But Shylock's bond is obviously a bond with a 
condition, and therefore is not " single " in the legal sense. For 
myself, I believe (see note on the passage) that it means "indi- 
vidual bond, or one without sureties." The term is used in its 
popular sense, not in a technical one. It would perhaps be refining 
overmuch to suppose that Shylock craftily employs it in the latter 
sense because he wants to make the " condition " appear like none 
at all, merely the "merry sport" he calls it; as if he had said, 
" Give me your bond without any condition, at least none worthy 

Appendix 229 

of the name or to be legally enforced, though for the joke of the 
thing we will say that I am to have a pound of your flesh if you fail 
to pay up at the appointed time." I have sometimes been inclined 
to explain the passage in that way. Observe that, a moment later, 
Shy lock refers to the " condition " as only a nominal one : 

" If he should break his day, what should I gain 
By the exaction of the forfeiture ? " 

He implies that he has no intention of exacting it, so the bond is 
virtually " single," or to be treated as such. 

As to the obviously " bad law " in the trial scene, which some 
critics ascribe to Shakespeare's ignorance of law, we must bear in 
mind that he took it from the familiar story on which the play was 
partly founded, and that it was too effective on the stage to be 
omitted. But it is a significant fact to me, at least, for I believe 
that no commentator or critic has referred to it that the dramatist, 
after using this " bad law " from the old tale, makes Portia go on 

to say : 

" Tarry, Jew ; 

The law hath yet another hold on you," 

namely, on account of his having sought the life of Antonio. Note 
at what length this is dwelt upon, and how much stress Portia lays 
upon it. Note also that this is not in the various forms of the old 
story, but is Shakespeare's own addition thereto. I have no doubt 
that he added it solely because he knew that the original " law " was 
" bad," and was not willing to rest the case upon it, as an inferior 
dramatist might not improbably have done. He kept the " bad law " 
for stage effect, but added the " good law " to satisfy his conscience 
or his sense of justice. 


In his paper "On the Times or Durations of the Action of 
Shakspere's Plays'* (Transactions of New Shakspert Society^ 

230 Appendix 

1877-1879), Mr. P. A. Daniel sums up the " time -analysis * 
thus : 

"Time: eight days represented on the stage; with intervals* 
Total time : a period of rather more than three months. 

Day i. Act I. 

Interval say a week. 1 
" 2. Act II. sc. i.-vii. 

Interval one day. 2 
" 3. Act II. sc. viii. and ix. 

Interval bringing the time to within a fortnight of 

the maturity of the bond. 
4. Act III. sc. i. 

Interval rather more than a fortnight. 8 
" 5. Act III. sc. ii.-iv. 
" 6. Act III. sc. v., Act IV. 
" 7 and 8. Act V." 4 


In this list the numbers in parentheses indicate the lines the 
characters have in each scene. 

1 In ii. 2, we find Launcelot lamenting his hard life in Shylock's ser- 
vice ; and later he becomes the servant of Bassanio. Meanwhile Bas- 
sanio has engaged his ship, and is waiting for a fair wind ; and Lorenzo 
has been courting Jessica. Note also what Jessica says in iii. 2. 279 fol. 
All this supposes a lapse of time say a week since the signing of the 
bond. 2 For Bassanio's journey to Belmont, etc. 

8 In iii. i, Shylock says to Tubal: " Go, Tubal, fee me an officer; be- 
speak him a fortnight before." This indicates an interval, between this 
and the preceding scenes, of sufficient length to bring the three-months 
bond to within a fortnight of its maturity. 

4 After the trial Bassanio and Antonio propose to fly towards Belmont 
early next morning. Portia and Nerissa start for home that night, and 
arrive on the next night (Day 7) before their husbands. Act V. begins 
at a late hour that night, and ends two hours before day (Day 8) . 

Appendix 23 1 

Duke of Venice : iv. I (57). Whole number, 57. 

Prince of Morocco : ii. I (32), 7 (71). Whole number, 103. 

Prince of Arragon : ii. 9 (66). Whole number, 66. 

Antonio: i. I (46), 3 (39); ii. 6 (6); iii. 3 (19); iv. I (66); v. I 

(12). Whole number, 188. 
Bassanio: i. I (51), 3 (16); ii. 2 (38); iii. 2(144); iv. I (50)? 

v. i (42). Whole number, 341. 
Salanio : i. I (ii); ii. 4 (3), 8 (21); iii. I (24). Whole number, 

Salarino: i. I (41); ii. 4 (3), 6 (5), 8 (34); iii. I (22), 3(4). 

Whole number, 109. 
Gratiano : i. I (34) ; ii. 2 (18), 4 (3), 6 (20) ; iii. 2 (31) ; iv. I (33), 

2 (5); v - 1 (34) Whole number, 178. 
Lorenzo: i. I (6); ii. 4 (27), 6 (21); iii. 2 (5), 4(12), 5 (34); 

v. I (76). Whole number, 181. 
Shylock: i. 3(134); " 5 (39); Hi- i (72), 3 06); iv. I (103). 

Whole number, 364. 
Tubal : iii. I (16). Whole number, 16. 
Launcelot: ii. 2 (120), 3 (5), 4 (6), 5 (15); iii. 5 (35); v. I (7). 

Whole number, 188. 

Old Gobbo : ii. 2 (41). Whole number, 41. 
Salerio : iii. 2(20); iv. i (4). Whole number, 24. 
Leonardo : ii. 2 (2). Whole number, 2. 
Balthazar : iii. 4 (i). Whole number, i. 
Stephano : v. i'(8). Whole number, 8. 
Servant: i. 2 (5); ii. 9 (n); iii. i (2). Whole number, 18. 
Musician : iii. 2 (9). Whole number, 9. 
Portia: i. 2 (96); ii. I (17), 7 (9), 9 (20); iii. 2 (118), 4 (71); 

iv. i (138), 2 (12); v. i (108). Whole number, 589. 
Nerissa: i. 2(46); ii. 9(6); iii. 2(5), 4(2); iv. I (22), 2 (4); 

v. i (25). Whole number, no. 
Jessica : ii. 3 (16), 5 (4), 6 (18) ; iii. 2 (7), 4 (i), 5 (29) ; v. I (14). 

Whole number, 89. 
AU " . iii. 2 (i). Whole number, I. 

23 2 Appendix 

In the above enumeration, parts of lines are counted as whole 
lines, making the total in the play greater than it is. The actual 
number of lines in each scene (Globe edition numbering) is as 
follows: i. I (186), 2(147), 3 O^S); i (46), 2 (215), 3 (21), 
4(40), 5 (57). 6(68), 7 (79), 8(53), 9(101); in. i (136), 2(330), 
3 (36), 4 (84), 5 (96); iv. i (458), 2 (19); v. i (307). Whole 
number in the play, 2662. 


a' (=he), 168 

beholding (=beholden), 

complexion (quadrisylla- 

a many, 193 


ble), 165 

abide (=bear), 195 

beshrew, 175, 182 

compromised, 162 

accomplished, 191 

best conditioned and un- 

conceit, 154, 190 

achieve, 186 

wearied, 1 88 

condition, 160 

address, 178 

bestow, 171 

conditioned, 188 

advice, 200 

best-regarded, 165 

confiscate (participle), 199 

advised, 155, 166 

bid forth, 172 

confound, 188 

advisedly, 206 

Black-Monday, 173 

confusions, 168 

afeard, 175 

blest or cursed'st, 167 

constant, 187 

agitation (= cogitation) , 

bonnet, 159 

contain, 205 


bottom, 152 

contemplation (metre) , 

alablaster, 154 

brave, 192 


alas the while! 166 

break his day, 164 

continent, 185 

Alcides, 166, 184 

break up (=break open), 

contrive (=ploO, 200 

aleven, 171 


conveniency, 196 

alien (trisyllable), 200 

breed of barren metal, 

convenient, 191 

all my whole, 192 


conveniently, 178 

an (=if), 158 

Brutus' Portia, 156 

cope, 200 

and (=an), 158 

burial, 152 

could not do withal, 192 

and so following, 161 

by (=about), 158, 178 

counterfeit (= portrait), 

Andrew, 152 


angel (coin), 176 

can, 160 

county (=count), 158 

appropriation, 158 
approve (=prove), 183 

carrion (in contempt), 195 
carrion death, 177 

courtesy, 152, 205 
cousin, 191 

argosy, 151 

cater-cousin, 170 

cover, 178, 193 

as (omitted), 189 

cerecloth, 176 

Cressida, 201 

as who should say, 154 

ceremony, 206 

crisped, 184 

aspect (accent), 152, 165 

charge upon interroga- 

current, 195 

at full, 206 

tories, 206 

curtsy, 152 

attempt (=tempt), 200 

Charybdis, 192 

attended, 203 

cheer, 188, 193 

danger, 197 

avail (avale\ 152 

cherubin, 202 

Daniel come to judgment, 

aweary, 157 

childhood proof, 156 


Chus, 188 

Dardanian wives, 183 

balance (plural), 198 

circumstance, 156 

dear (adverb), 189 

Balthazar, 191 

civil doctor, 206 

deny, 188, 190, 191 

Barrabas, 199 

close (=secret), 175 

depart (=part), 177 

bate, 190 

commandement, 200 

description (quadrisylla 

be (=are), 161, 175, 199 

commends (noun), 179 

ble), 188 

be friends with, 164 

commodity, 157, 190 

desire you of pardon, 909 

beefs, 165 

companion (contemptu- 

determine, 196 

beest, 175 

ous), 190 

Dido, 201 


234 Index of Words and Phrases 

Difference of, 172 
disable, 175 

gear, 155, 171 
Gentile (play upon), 175 

incision for your love, 165 
Indian beauty, 185 

discharge, 188, 198 

ginger, 180 

insculped, 176 

discretion, 193 

glister, 177 

interest, 161 

dish of doves, 31, 170 

Gobbo, 168 

inter'gatories, 206 

distinct (accent), 179 

go give, 197 

intermission (metre), 186 

do we so, 178 

go hard, 181 

issuing, 187 

doit, 164 

go to, 163 

doth, 187 

SD we in, 202 

Jacks, 192 

doublet, 159 

od bless the mark! 167 

Jacob's staff, 173 

ducat, 160 

God sort all ! 205 

Janus, 152 

dull-eyed, 190 

God's sonties, 168 

jaundice, 154 

dwell (=contmue), 164 

good (commercial), 160 

Jewess, 173 

good sweet, 193 

judgment, 196 

eanling, 162 

Goodwins, 180 

jump, 178 

Endymion, 204 

gramercy, 170 

enow, 193 

gratify, 200 

keep (=dwell), 190 

envious, 188 

gree, 169 

knap, 180 

envy, 188, 194, 196 

green-eyed jealousy, 185 

knave, 165 

Erebus, 203 

guard (=trim), 170 

estate, 178, 187 

gudgeon, 155 

leave (=part with), 205 

exceeding (adverb), 153 

guiled, 184 

level at, 158 

excess, 162 

liberal, 171 

exchange, 174 

had better, 158 

Lichas, 166 

exclaim on, 186 

had rather to, T58 

light (play upon), 184, 205 

excrement, 184 

hair (dissyllable), 188 

like (=likelv),i 7 6 

exhibit, 171 

hairs, 185 

likely, 180 

hangman, 196 

line of life, 170 

fair (play upon?) 166 

hard food for Midas, 185 

liver, 154, 184 

faithless, 172 

hear thee, 171 

living, 186, 206 

fall ^transitive), 163 

heels (play upon), 167 

lodged, 195 

fancy (=love), 183 
father, 169 
fear (causative), 165 

high-day, 180 
high-gravel-blind, 168 
his (=its), 183, 202 

loose, 194 
lord worshipped might he 
be! 169 

fear (=fearfor), 183, 192 

hit, 187 

love (=lover), 199 

fearful, 165 

holy crosses, 202 

lover, 190 

fill up (=fulfil), 197 

hood, 175 

fill-horse, 169 

hose (round), 159 

magnificoes, 188 

find forth, 156 
fire (dissyllable), 179 
flight (of arrow), 155 

hour (dissyllable), 179 
humility, 180 
husbandry, 191 

main, 195 
make moan, 155, 190 
making question, 156 

follow (=insist upon), 198 

Hyrcanian, 175 

manage (noun), 191 

fond, 178, 189 

mannerly (adverb), 180 

fool (adjective), 155, 178 

I (=me), 189 

mantle (verb), 154 

fool-gudgeon, 155 

I were best, 177, 205 

many a time and oft, 163 

for (=because), 161 

I wis, 179 

marry, 168 

for my love, 165 
forfeit, 189 

if that, 175, 187 
impeach the freedom of 

martlet, 178 
master (as title), 168 

forth, 156, 172, 173 

the state, 188 

masters of passion, 195 

fraught, 177 

imposition, 159, 191 

match, 1 80 

from (=away from), 186 

in (=go in), 170 

matched, 181 

in (=into), 202 

may, 160 

gaberdine, 163 

in all sense, 205 

me (expletive), 163, 169 

gaged, 155 

in supposition, 160 

Medea, 202 

gaping pig, 195 

in the weather, 178 

melancholy bait, 155 

garnished, 193 

incarnation, 168 

mere, 187 

Index of Words and Phrases 235 

methought, 162 

parts, 196 

Rialto, 32, 160 

Midas, 185 

passion, 177, 195 

richly left, 156 

mincing, 192 

patch, 173 

ripe, 162 

mind of love, 178 

patine, 202 

riping, 178 

misbeliever, 163 

pawned, 193 

road, 206 

miscarried, 206 

peep through their eyes, 

royal merchant, 195 

misery (accent), 199 

i5 2 

ruin (=refuse), 179 

moe, 155 

peize, 182 

rule, 197 

moiety, 195 

persuaded with, 188 

more elder, 198 

pied, 162 

Sabaoth (=Sabbath), 195 

music (=musicians), 202 

pilled, 163 

Salerio, 186 

muttons, 165 

play the fool, 153 

sand-blind, 168 

mutual, 203 

please (impersonal), 161, 

say by, 158 

myself (subject), 166 


scant (verb), 166 

pleasure (verb), 160 

scape, 188 

narrow seas, 177 

poesy, 205 

scarfed bark, 174 

naughty, 182, 189 

port, 155, 188 

scrubbed, 205 

Nazarite, 161 

possess, 162, 195, 200 

Scylla, 192 

needs, 172, 190 

posy, 205 

sealed under for another, 

Nestor, 153 

prefer, 170 

J 59 

nice, 166 

presence, 183 

season, 198, 204 

no impediment to let him 

presently, 157 

seasoned, 183 

lack, 197 
nor (double negative), 

prest, 156 
prevent, 153 

self (adjective), 156 
sensible, 178, 179 

i57 l6 7 

prize (=contest), 186 

shall (=will), 155, 186 

note, 1 86 

producing holy witness, 

should, 155, 159, 188 

nothing undervalued, 156 

I6 3 

show (=appear), 198 

proof, 156 

shows (= represents), 198 

obdurate (accent), 194 

proper, 158 

shrewd, 187 

obliged, 174 

provided of, 172 

Sibylla, 159 

obscure (accent), 176 

publican, 161 

simple, 183 

occasion, 155 

pursue (accent), 199 

single bond, 164 

ocean (trisyllable), 151 

Pythagoras, 196 

sisters three, 169 

o'erlooked, 182 
of (=about). 162, 171 

quaint, 171, 192 

skipping spirit, 171 
slubber, 177 

of (=by, with), 172 
of (=for), 173 
of force, 200 

qualify, 194 
quality of mercy, 197 
quarrelling with occasion, 

smug, 1 80 
so ... as, 159 
so (=if ), 186 

of (omitted), 155 

J 93. 

so (omitted), 192 

office of discovery, 175 

question, 195 

so (=so be it), 165 

old (intensive), 200 

quicken his embraced 

so (=well), 181 

on 't, 175, 205 

heaviness, 178 

sola, 202 

on your charge, 199 
opinion (quadrisyllable), 

rain thy joy, 185 

some (=about), 172 
something (adverb), 155 

?54, 193 - 
opinion of wisdom, 154 

rath, 158 
rather, 158 

sometime, 156 
sometimes, 156 

Orpheus, 203 

raw, 192 

sonties, 168 

ostent, 171, 178 

reason (=converse), 177 

sooth, 151 

other (plural), 152 

regreet, 179 

soothsayer, 151 

overpeer, 152 

remorse, 194 

Sophy, 166 

over- weathered, 174 

reproach (play upon), 173 

sort (=dispose), 205 

respect, 153, 103 

sort (noun), 159 

pageant, 151 
pain (=pains), 171 

respect upon, 153 
respective, 205 

soul (play upon), 196 
speak me fair, 199 

parcel, 159 
part (=depart), 177 

rest (set up one's), 169 
rest you fair, 162 

sped, 179 
spet, 163 

2j6 Index of Words and Phrases 

spirit (monosyllable), 171 

tricksy, 193 

well to live, 168 

spoke (=spoken), 186 
spoke us of, 171 

Tripolis, 160 
Troilus, 201 

what (of impatience), i 7 j 
what (=what a), 141 

squander, 161 

truth (=honesty), 198 

where (=whereas), 156 

starve, 197 

tucket, 204 

which (omitted), 157 

state, 187 

turquoise, 182 

which (the), 160, 199 

stead, 1 60 

which (=who), 175, 199, 

steal your thoughts, 165 

uncapable, 194 


Stephano (accent), 202 

underta'en, 172 

whiles, 160 

sterve, 197 

undertook, 172 

who (omitted), 129, 156 

still, 152, 155, 183, 199 

undervalued, 156, 176 

who (=which), 175 

studied in a sad ostent. 171 

unfurnished, 185 

who (=whom), 157, 174 

substance ( =amount) , 199 

unhandled colts, 203 

who (with supplementary 

success, 187 

unpleasant'st, 187 

pronoun), 164 

suited, 159 

unthrift, 202 

why, so. 181 

Sultan Solyman, 166 

unthrifty, 165 

wi ful stillness, 154 

sum of nothing, 186 

untread again, 174 

will, 173 

swan-like end, 183 

upon more advice, 200 

will (verb omitted), 171, 

sweet, 193 

upon my power, 196 


swelling port, 155 

upon supposed fairness, 

willow, 200 

swift (adverb), 186 


wit, 166 

upon the hip, 161, 199 

with all my heart Cplay 

table (of the hand), 170 

urge, 206 

upon), 199 

teaches (plural), 164 

usance, 161 

with imagined speed, 191 

temple (=chapel), 167 

use, 199, 200 

within his danger, 197 

that (with conj.)> i75> 187 

usury, 161 

within the eye of honour, 

the which, 160 

. T 55 

thee (=thou), 171 

ail, 152 

wives (=women), 183 

this (=-all this), 152 

antage, 186 

wolf hanged, 196 

Thisbe, 201 

asty, 176 

would (=wish), 162 

thorough (=through), 144 

enture, 152 

wracked, 180 

thou (of servants), 191 

T enus' pigeons, 174 

writ, 172 

thought (=love), 165 

ery (adjective), 187 

wroth, 179 

throughfare, 176 

ia! 167 

wry-necked fife, 173 

throughly, 176, 197 

inegar aspect, 152 

thrift, 157 

irtue, 205 

yeanling, 162 

time (=time of life), 155 

yet (with negative), 179 

to (omitted), 176, 190, 197 

waft (= wafted), 201 

younger (=younker), 174 

to-night (=last night), 172 
too-too, 174 

waste, 190 
wealth, 206 

yours (dissyllable), 182 
yourself (subject), 166 

towards my rest, 172 

weather, 178 

you were best, 177, 205 

trailed, 101 

weeping philosopher, 158 

ywis, 179 


Return to desk from which borrowed. 
This book is DUE on the last date stamped bel< 

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