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That you to-day promis'd to tell me of?
BASS. "Tis 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 gaged: To you, Antonio,
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.

ANT. 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 unlock'd to your occasions.

BASS. In my school-days, when I had lost one shaft,

I shot his fellow of the self-same flight



- a more swelling PORT, &c.] Port, in the present instance, comprehends the idea of expensive equipage, and external pomp of appearance. Thus, in the first Iliad, as translated by Chapman, 1611:


- all the gods receiv'd,

(All rising from their thrones) their sire; attending to his


"None sate when he rose; none delaid, the furnishing his



"Till he came neare: all met with him and brought him to his throne." STEEVENS.

So, in Sidney's Arcadia: "My port and pomp did well become a king of Argos' daughter." MALONE.

9 - when I had lost one shaft,

I shot his fellow, &c.] This thought occurs also in Decker's Villanies discovered by Lanthorne and Candlelight, &c. 4to. bl. l. : "And yet I have seene a Creditor in Prison weepe when he beheld the Debtor, and to lay out money of his owne purse to free

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The self-same 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,
Or bring your latter hazard back again,
And thankfully rest debtor for the first.

ANT. You know me well; and herein spend but

To wind about my love with circumstance;

And, out of doubt, you do me now
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,

* more wrong,

* Folio omits me now.

him he shot a second arrow to find the first." I learn, from a MS. note by Oldys, that of this pamphlet there were no less than eight editions; the last in 1638. I quote from that of 1616.


This method of finding a lost arrow is prescribed by P. Crescentius in his treatise de Agricultura, lib. x. cap. xxviii. and is also mentioned in Howel's Letters, vol. i. p. 183, edit. 1655, 12mo. Douce.

- like a WILFUL youth,] This does not at all agree with what he had before promised, that what followed should be purc innocence. For wilfulness is not quite so pure. We should read -witless, i. e. heedless; and this agrees exactly to that to which he compares his case, of a school-boy; who, for want of advised watch, lost his first arrow, and sent another after it with more attention. But wilful agrees not at all with it. WARBURTON.

Dr. Warburton confounds the time past and present. He has formerly lost his money like a wilful youth; he now borrows more in pure innocence, without disguising his former faults, or his present designs. JOHNSON.

And I am prest unto it 2: therefore, speak.
BASS. 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;
Which makes her seat of Belmont, Colchos' strand,
And many Jasons come in quest of her.
O my Antonio, had I but the means
To hold a rival place with one of them,
I have a mind presages me such thrift,
That I should questionless be fortunate.

ANT. Thou know'st, that all my fortunes are at


PREST unto it :] Prest may not here signify impress'd, as into military service, but ready. Pret, Fr. So, in Cæsar and Pompey, 1607:

Cæsar's prest for all.”

"What must be, must be; Again, in Hans Beer-pot, &c. 1618: your good word


"Is ever prest to do an honest man good."

Again, in the concluding couplet of Churchyard's Warning to the Wanderers Abroad, 1593:

"Then shall my mouth, my muse, my pen and all,

"Be prest to serve at each good subject's call."

I could add twenty more instances of the word being used with this signification. STEEVENS.

3 SOMETIMES from her eyes -] So all the editions; but it certainly ought to be, sometime, i. e. formerly, some time ago, at a certain time and it appears by the subsequent scene, that Bassanio was at Belmont with the Marquis de Montferrat, and saw Portia in her father's life time. THEOBALD.

It is strange, Mr. Theobald did not know, that in old English, sometimes is synonymous with formerly. Nothing is more frequent in title-pages, than "sometimes fellow of such a college."




Neither have I' money, nor commodity
To raise a present sum: therefore go forth,
Try what my credit can in Venice do;
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.


Belmont. A Room in PORTIA'S House.

Enter PORTIA and NerisSA.

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

NER. You would be, sweet madarn, 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.

POR. Good sentences, and well pronounced.
NER. They would be better, if well followed.

*First folio, small.

4 superfluity COMES Sooner BY white hairs,] fluity sooner acquires white hairs; becomes old. How did he come by it? MALONE.


POR. 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 follows 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

e. SuperWe still say,


temper leaps over a cold decree: such a hare is madness the youth, to skip o'er the meshes of good counsel the cripple. But 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 curb'd by the will of a dead father:-Is it not hard, Nerissa, that I cannot choose one, nor refuse none?

NER. 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 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 come?

POR. I pray thee, over-name them; and as thou namest them, I will describe them; and, according to my description, level at my affection.

NER. First, there is the Neapolitan prince ". POR. Ay, that's a colt, indeed, for he doth nothing but talk of his horse; and he makes it a great

*First folio, reason.

5 the Neapolitan PRINCE.] The Neapolitans in the time of Shakspeare, were eminently skilled in all that belongs to horsemanship; nor have they, even now, forfeited their title to the same praise. STEEVENS.

Though our author, when he composed this play, could not have read the following passage in Florio's translation of Montaigne's Essaies, 1603, he had perhaps met with the relation in some other book of that time: " While I was a young lad, (says old Montaigne,) I saw the prince of Salmona, at Naples, manage a young, a rough, and fierce horse, and show all manner of horsemanship; to hold testons or reals under his knees and toes so fast as if they had been nayled there, and all to show his sure, steady, and unmoveable sitting." MALONE.

Ay, that's a COLT, indeed, for he doth nothing but talk of his horse;] Colt is used for a witless, heady, gay youngster, whence

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