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I'll prove the prettier fellow of the two,
Why, shall we turn to men?
I With a reed voice ;] Such as is produced by a reed, or small pipe. E.
2 For we must measure twenty miles to-day] This, though it is not expressly so declared, is, it may be presumed, nearly the whole distance from Behniont to
Enter Launcelot and Jessica.
:- for, look you the sins of the father are to be laid upon the children; therefore, I promise you, I fear you. I was
* Scene V.-Is some part of the same day, after Portia's departure and before the hour of dinner. I am not inclined wantonly or unnecessarily to have recourse to a transposition of Scenes, but, certainly, that which is at present the third, wherein Shylock appears with Anthonio in custody, might with considerable advantage, as has been already hinted, have been placed after this, and so made the concluding one of the third Act, by which means, the business to be transacted at Belmont before the trial would have been kept together, and the changes of place been less abrupt and violent. E.
Venice. Twenty miles are a pretty reasonable journey for two young ladies to undertake within the remaining part of this day, and it seems but proper that they should arrive at Venice by the night before the trial. E.
-therefore I promise you, I fear you.] I suspect for has been inadvertently omitted, and we should read—I fear for you. MALONE.
There is not the slightest need of emendation. The disputed phrase is authorized by a passage in K. Richard III.
“ The king is sickly, weak, and melancholy, “ And his physicians fear him mightily."
always plain with you, and so now I speak my agitation of the matter :2 Therefore be of good cheer; for, truly, I think, you are damn'd. There is but one hope in it that can do you any good ; and that is but a kind of a bastard hope neither.
Jes. And what hope is that, I pray thee?
Laun. Marry, you may partly hope that your
father got you not, that you are not the Jew's daughter.
Jes. That were a kind of bastard hope, indeed ; so the sins of my mother should be visited upon me.
Laun. 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 : 3 well, you are gone both ways.
my agitation of the matter :] Cogitation, it may be presumed, is the word about which Launcelot blunders here. E.
3 Thus when I shun Scylla, your father, I fall into Charybdis, your mother :] Alluding to the wellknown line of a modern Latin poet, Philippe Gualtier, in his poem
entitled L’Alexandreis : “ Incidis in Scyllam, cupiens vitare Charybdim."
MALONE. Shakspeare might have met with a translation of this line in many places. Among others in “A
Dialogue between Custom and Veretie, concerning “ the use and abuse of Dauncing and Minstrelsie." bl. l. no date :
Jes. I shall be saved by my husband; 4 he hath made me a Christian.
Laun. Truly, the more to blame he : we were Christians enough before; e'en as many as could well 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.
Enter Lorenzo. Jes. I'll tell my husband, Launcelot, what you say ; here he comes.
Lor. I shall grow jealous of you shortly, Launcelot, if you thus get my wife into corners.
Jes. Nay, you need not fear us, Lorenzo; Launcelot and I are out: he tells me flatly, there 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 Christians, you raise the price of pork.
• While Silla they do seem to shun, “ In Churibd they do fall.” &c. STEEVENS. Some of the modern editors have altered this to
“ When you shun Scylla, your father, you fall “into Charybdis," &c. E. 4 I shall be saved by my husband ;] From St. Paul:
“ The unbelieving wife is sanctified by the « husband.” HENLEY.
Lor. I shall answer that better to the commonwealth, than you can the getting up of the negro's belly : the Moor is with child by you, Launcelot.
Laun. It is much 5 that the Moor should be more than reason : but if she be less than an honest woman,6 she is, indeed, more than I took her for.
Lor. How every fool can play upon the word ! I think, the best grace of wit will shortly turn into silence ;7 and discourse grow commendable in none only but parrots.--Go in, sirrah, bid them prepare for dinner.
5 It is much that the Moor should be more, &c.] This reminds us of the quibbling epigram of Milton, which has the same kind of humour to boast of:
“ Galli ex concubitu gravidam te, Pontia, Mori, • Quis bene moratum, morigeram que neget?”
STEEVENS. Shakspeare, no doubt, had read or heard of the old epigram on Sir Thomas More :
When More some years had chancellor been,
• No more suits did remain ;
“ Till More be there again.” Ritson. 6 -but if she be less than an honest woman, A change of the word less into more would make the jingle fuller, and, in “ more than an honest wo
man,” I think, may be perceived an allusion to the increase of “ the negro's belly.” Capell.
7 -the best grace of wit will shortly turn into silence, &c.] The most becoming form that wit can assume will be that of keeping silence. E.