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If thou be'st rated by thy estimation,
desire. Why, that's the lady; all the world desires
3 If thou be'st rated by thy estimation,] i.e. “ If
thy value, upon this occasion, be rated according “ to the estimation in which thou hast generally been held;" &c. E.
to be afeard of my deserving,] Afraid, in the quartos of 1637 and 1652.
CAPELL. 5 But more than these, in love I do deserve.] That is, either “ more than these deserve," the word these being a nominative, or, “ more than I deserve in these, « in love I do deserve," the preposition in being understood. Mr. Capell supposes that the original might have been “ in love I do deserve her.” E.
6 Why, that's the lady; all the world desires her;] In this, and what follows, almost to the end of the speech, there is a very gallant, romantic, and beautiful extravagance. E.
From the four corners of the earth they come, To kiss this shrine, this mortal breathing
saint:7 The Hyrcanian deserts, and the vasty wilds Of wide Arabia, are as thorough-fares now, For princes to come view fair Portia. The watry kingdom, whose ambitious head Spits 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? Twere dam.
nation, To think so base a thought ; it were too gross To rib her cerecloth in the obscure grave. Or shall I think, in silver she's immur'd, Being ten times under-valu'd to try'd gold ? O sinful thought! Never so rich a gem
7this mortal breathing saint. J In opposition to the inanimate representations of saints enshrined. The shrine and the saint seem to be confounded in this line, but shrine may have a reference to the place of her residence wherein the Scene lies. E.
8 To rib her cerecloth, &c.] To rib, is here to inclose as within ribs ; cerecloth is,-cloth smeared over with wax or other glutinous matter such as dead bodies were shrouded in when they were embalmed,
Was set in worse than gold. They have in
England 9 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 ! Por. There, take it, prince, and if my form
lie there, Then I am yours.
[He unlocks the golden casket. Mor:
O hell! what have we here? A carrion death, within whose empty eye There is a written scroll! I'll read the writing.
9 They have in England, &c.] The thought here turns upon a very whimsical circumstance both of resemblance and of contrast, and is managed, I think, with no extraordinary dexterity. It seems, as if Morochius, at first view, imagined that he had found out the subject of an ingenious and refined compliment, which, the next moment, he discovers to be incapable of producing the effect he expected from it. E.
-insculp'd upon;] To insculp is to engrave. So, in A Woman never Vexed, 1632:
-in golden text “ Shall be insculp'd
STEEVENS. The meaning is, that the figure of the angel is raised or embossed on the coin, not engraved on it.
All that glisters is not gold;
been as wise as bold,
2 Many a man his life hath sold, &c.] This and the following line are obscure, as well as lame and imperfect; the deficiency may, perhaps, be supplied by a paraphrase of this kind; “ But there is
nothing peculiar in your case; the error is com
mon of rating by a false estimate the value of that “ substance in which I am inclosed, inasmuch as
many a man has been obliged to forfeit his life " in consequence either of unlawful practices, or “ hazardous enterprizes, undertaken for the privi" lege of contemplating it.” The words,
“ But my outside to behold :" &c. may, possibly, be allusive to the fanciful and arbitrary price set upon that, which, however distinguished by its external lustre, possesses no essential and inherent utility beyond that of inferior metals; the extraordinary fondness manifested for it may, therefore, be considered as arising from the gratification men feel in looking at it. E.
3 Gilded tombs do worms infold.] In all the old editions this line is written thus :
• Gilded timber do worms infold.” From which Mr. Rowe and all the following editors have made :
“ Gilded wood may worms infold.” A line not bad in itself, but not so applicable to the occasion as that which, I believe, Shakspeare wrote:
Your answer had not been inscrol'd:4
Fare you well; your suit is cold.
Then, farewel, heat; and, welcome, frost.
tains, go : Let all of his complexion choose me so.
“ Gilded tombs do worms infold.” A tomb is the proper repository of a death's head.
JOHNSON. The thought might have been suggested by Sid. ney's Arcadia, Book 1: “ But gold can guild a rotten piece of wood.”
STEEVENS, Tombs, (or, as written formerly,--tombes) we can very readily imagine to have been mistaken fortimber. Tombs, richly gilded, are the ornaments of many old churches at this day. CAPELL.
Doctor Johnson's emendation is supported by Shakspeare's 101st sonnet:
-it lies in thee “ To make thee much outlive a gilded tomb."
Malone 4 Your answer had not been inscrold;] Since there is an answer inscrol'd or written in every casket, I believe for your we should read this. When the words were written yr and y', the mistake was easy.
JOHNSON. Undoubtedly “ This answer had not,” &c. would have been more proper, but “ Your answer," may signify, “ Such an answer as you have now receive « ed. E.