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And, in a word, but even now worth this,
And now worth nothing? Shall I have the thought
That such a thing, bechanc'd, would make me sad?
Is sad to think upon his merchandize.
Ant. Believe me, no: I thank my fortune for it,
Therefore, my merchandize makes me not sad.
Fye, fye! Salan. Not in love neither? Then let's say, you are
Because you are not merry: and 'twere as easy
That they'll not show their teeth in way of smile,
Enter BASSANIO, LORENZO, and GRATIANO. Salan. Here comes Bassanio, your most noble kins
Gratiano, and Lorenzo: Fare you well;
Now, by two-headed Fanus,] Here Shakspeare shews his knowledge in the antique. By two-headed Janus is meant those antique bifrontine heads, which generally represent a young and smiling face, together with an old and wrinkled one, being of Pan and Bacchus; of Saturn and Apollo, &c. These are not uncommon in collections of Antiques: and in the books of the antiquaries, as Montfaucon, Spanheim, &c. Warburton.
Here, says Dr. Warburton, Shakspeare shows his knowledge of the antique: and so does Taylor the water poet, who describes Fortune, "Like a Janus with a double-face." Farmer.
3 -peep through their eyes,] This gives a very picturesque image of the countenance in laughing, when the eyes appear half shut. Warburton.
- their teeth in way of smile,] Because such are apt enough to show their teeth in anger, Warburton.
We leave you now with better company.
Salar. I would have staid till I had made you merry,
Ant. Your worth is very dear in my regard.
Bass. Good signiors both, when shall we laugh? Say,
You grow exceeding strange: Must it be so?
Salar. We'll make our leisures to attend on yours.
Gra. You look not well, signior Antonio;
Ant. I hold the world but as the world, Gratiano;
5 My lord Bassanio, &c.] This speech [which by Mr. Rowe and subsequent editors was allotted to Salanio] is given to Lorenzo in the old copies: and Salarino and Salanio make their exit at the close of the preceding speech, which is certainly right. Lorenzo (who, with Gratiano, had only accompanied Bassanio, till he should find Antonio) prepares now to leave Bassanio to his business; but is detained by Gratiano, who enters into a conversation with Antonio. Tyrwhitt.
I have availed myself of this judicious correction, by restoring the speech to Lorenzo, and marking the exits of Salarino and Salanio at the end of the preceding speech. Steevens.
6 -lose it,] All the ancient copies read-loose; a misprint,
I suppose, for the word standing in the text.
74 stage, where every man must play a part,] The same thought occurs in Churchyard's Farewel to the World, 1593:
"A worldling here, I must hie to my grave;
Again, in Sidney's Arcadia, B. II:
She found the world but a wearisome stage to her, where she played a part against her will." Steevens.
Let me play the Fool:
With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come;
Than heart cool with mortifying groans.
Why should a man, whose blood is warm within,
Sleep when he wakes? and creep into the jaundice
There are a sort of men, whose visages
Do cream and mantle, like a standing pond;
With purpose to be dress'd in an opinion
For saying nothing; who, I am very sure,3
If they should speak, would almost damn those ears,
8 Let me play the Fool:] Alluding to the common comparison of human life to a stage-play. So that he desires his may be the fool's or buffoon's part, which was a constant character in the old farces; from whence came the phrase, to play the fool.
9 There are a sort of men, whose visages
Do cream-] The poet here alludes to the manner in which the film extends itself over milk in scalding; and he had the same appearance in his eye when writing a foregoing line:
"With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come." So, also, the author of Bussy d'Ambois:
"Not any wrinkle creaming in their faces." Henley.
a wilful stillness-] i. e. an obstinate silence. Malone. ·let no dog bark!] This seems to be a proverbial expression. So, in Acolastus, a comedy, 1540: "nor there shall no dogge bark at mine ententes." Steevens.
- who, I am very sure,] The old copies read-when, I am very sure. Corrected by Mr. Rowe. Malone.
4 - would almost damn those ears,] Several old editions have it, dam, damme, and daunt. Some more correct copies, damn. The author's meaning is this: That some people are thought wise, whilst they keep silence; who, when they open their mouths, are such stupid praters, that the hearers cannot help calling them fools, and so incur the judgment denounced in the Gospel. Theobald.
Which, hearing them, would call their brothers, fools.
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. Farewel: I'll grow a talker for this gear.6 Gra. Thanks, i' faith; for silence is only commendable In a neat's tongue dried, and a maid not vendible. [Exeunt GRA. and LOR.
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
5 I'll end my exhortation after dinner.] The humour of this consists in its being an allusion to the practice of the puritan preachers of those times; who, being generally very long and tedious; were often forced to put off that part of their sermon called the exhortation, till after dinner. Warburton.
6 for this gear.] In Act II, sc. ii, the same phrase occurs again: "If fortune be a woman, she's a good wench for this geer." This is a colloquial expression perhaps of no very deter. mined import. Steevens.
So, in Sapho and Phao, a comedy by Lyly, 1591: "As for you, Sir boy, I will teach you how to run away; you shall be stript from top to toe, and whipt with nettles; I will handle you for this geare well: I say no more." Again, in Nashe's Epistle Dedicatory to his Apologie of Pierce Pennilesse, 1593: “I mean to trounce him after twenty in the hundred, and have a bout with him, with two staves and a pike, for this geare." Malone.
7 Is that any thing now?] All the old copies read, is that any thing now? I suppose we should read—is that any thing new? Johnson. The sense of the old reading is-Does what he has just said amount to any thing, or mean any thing? Steevens.
Surely the reading of the old copies is right. Antonio asks: Is that any thing now? and Bassanio answers, that Gratiano speaks an infinite deal of nothing,-the greatest part of his discourse is not any thing. Tyrwhitt.
So, in Othello: "Can any thing be made of this?" The old copies, by a manifest error of the press, read-It is that, &c. Corrected by Mr. Rowe. Malone.
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
Ant. I pray you, good Bassanio, let me know it;
My purse, my person, my extremest means,
Bass. In my school-days, when I had lost one shaft, I shot his fellow of the self-same flight
8 — 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
"None sate when he rose; none delaid, the furnishing
"Till he came neare: all met with him and brought him to his throne." Steevens.
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. 1: "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 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