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I'll tell thee more of this another time :
Lor. Well, we will leave you then till dinner time :
Gra. Well, keep me company but two years more, Thou shalt not know the sound of thine own tongue.
Ant. Farewell : I'll grow a talker for this gear.
Gra. Thanks, i' faith; for silence is only commendable In a neat's tongue dried, and a maid not vendible.
[Exeunt GRA. and LOREN. Ant. Is that any thing now?
Bass. 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.
Ant. Well; tell me now, what lady is this same
Bass. 'Tis not unknown to you, Antonio,
my faint means would grant continuance :
Ant. I pray you, good Bassanio, let me know it;
 The humour of this consists in its being an allusion to the practice of the paritan preachers of those times ; who being generally long and tedious, were often forced to put off that part of their sermon called the exhortation, till after dinner. WARBURTON.
Bass. In my school-days, when I had lost one shaft, I shot his fellow of the self-same flight The self-same way, with more advised watch, To find the other forth; and by advent'ring 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 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.
Bass. In Belmont is a lady richly left, And she is fair, and, fairer than that word, Of wond'rous 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 sea ; Nor 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,
SCENE II. 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 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.
Por. Good sentences, and well pronounced.
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 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, 8 indeed, for he doth nothing but talk of his horse ; and he makes it a great appropriation to his own good parts, that he can shoe him himself: I am much afraid, my lady his mother play'd false with a smith.
Ner. Then, is there the county Palatine.'
Por. He doth nothing but frown ; as who should say, An if 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 be married to a death's head with a bone in his mouth, than to either of these. God defend me from these two !
Ner. How say you by the French lord, monsieur Le Bon ? Por. God made him, and therefore let him pass for a
In truth, I know it as a sin to be a mocker ; But, he! why, he hath a horse better than the Neapolitan's; a better bad habit of frowning than the count Palatine : he is every man in no man : if a throstle sing, he falls straight a capering; he 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.
Ner. What say you then to Faulconbridge, the young baron of England ?
Por. You know, I say nothing to him ; for he understands not me, nor I him : he hath neither Latin, French, nor Italian ; 1 and you will come into the court, and swear that I have a poor penny worth 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.
Ner. What think you of the Scottish lord, his neighbour?
Por. That he hath a neighbourly charity in him ; for he borrowed a box of the ear of the Englishman, and
 Colt is used for a heady, gay youngster, whence the phrase used of an old man too juvenile, that he still retains his colt's tooth. See Henry VIII.
JOHNSON.  I am almost inclined to believe, that Shakspeare has more allusions to particular facts and persons than his readers commonly suppose. The count here mentioned was, perhaps, Albertus a Lasco, a Polish Palatine, who visited England in our author's life-time, was eagerly caressed, and splendidly entertained ; but running in debt, at last stole away, and endeavoured to repair his fortune by enchantment. JOHNSON
t A satire on the ignorance of the young English travellers in our adthor's time. WARBURTON.
Act I. sc. iii.
swore he would pay him again, when he was able I think, the Frenchman became his surety, 2 and sealed under for another.
Ner. How like you the young German, the duke of Saxony's nephew ?3
Por. 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.
Ner. 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.
Por. Therefore, for fear of the worst, I pray thee, set a deep glass of Rhenish wine on the contrary casket : for, if the devil be within, and that temptation without, I know he will choose it. I will do any thing, Nerissa, ere I will be married to such a spunge.
Ner. You need not fear, lady, the having any 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.
Por. 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 I pray God grant them a fair departure.
Ner. 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?
Por. Yes, yes, it was Bassanio ; as I think, so was he called.
Ner. True, madam ; he, of all the men that ever my foolish eyes looked upon, was the best deserving a fair lady.
 Alluding to the constant assistance, or rather constant promises of as. sistance, that the French gave the Scots in their quarrels with the English: This is here humorously satirized.
(3] In Shakspeare's time the Duk of Bavaria visited London, and, was made knight of the garter. Perhaps in this enumeration of Portia's suitors there may be some eovert allusion io those of queen Elizabeth. JOHNSON.