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Wear prayer-books in my pocket, look demurely;
Like one well studied in a sad ostent
To please his grandam, never trust me more.
Gra. Nay, but I bar to-night; you shall not gage me By what we do to-night.
No, that were pity;
I would entreat you rather to put on
Your boldest suit of mirth, for we have friends
Gra. And I must to Lorenzo, and the rest;
The same. A Room in Shylock's House.
Enter JESSICA and LAUNCELOT.
Jes. I am sorry, thou wilt leave my father so;
And so farewel; I would not have my father
· hood mine eyes —] Alluding to the manner of covering a hawk's eyes. So, in The Tragedy of Crasus, 1604:
"And like a hooded hawk," &c. Steevens.
8 sad ostent -] Grave appearance; show of staid and serious behaviour. Johnson.
Ostent is a word very commonly used for show among the old dramatick writers. So, in Heywood's Iron Age, 1632:
66 you in those times
"Did not affect ostent." Steevens.
your bearing.] Bearing is carriage, deportment. So, in Twelfth-Night:
"Take and give back affairs, and their despatch,
See me talk with thee.
Laun. Adieu!-tears exhibit my tongue.—
Most beautiful pagan,-most sweet Jew! If a Christian do not play the knave, and get thee,1 I am much deceived: But, adieu! these foolish drops do somewhat drown my manly spirit; adieu!
Jes. Farewel, good Launcelot.-
If thou keep promise, I shall end this strife;
The same. A Street.
Enter GRATIANO, LORENZO, SALARINO, and SALANIO, Lor. Nay, we will slink away in supper-time; Disguise us at my lodging, and return
All in an hour.
and get thee,] I suspect that the waggish Launcelot designed this for a broken sentence-" and get thee”—implying, get thee with child. Mr. Malone, however, supposes him to mean only-carry thee away from thy father's house. Steevens.
I should not have attempted to explain so easy a passage, if the ignorant editor of the second folio, thinking probably that the word get must necessarily mean beget, had not altered the text, and substituted did in the place of do, the reading of all the old and authentick editions; in which he has been copied by every subsequent editor. Launcelot is not talking about Jessica's father, but about her future husband. I am aware that, in a subsequent scene, he says to Jessica: "Marry, you may partly hope your father got you not," but he is now on another subject. Malone.
From the general censure expressed in the preceding note I take leave to exempt Mr. Reed; who, by following the first folio, was no sharer in the inexpiable guilt of the second. Steevens.
Notwithstanding Mr. Malone charges the editor of the second folio so strongly with ignorance, I have no doubt but that did is the true reading, as it is clearly better sense than that which he has adopted. Launcelot does not mean to foretel the fate of Jessica, but judges, from her lovely disposition, that she must have been begotten by a christian, not by such a brute as Shylock: a christian might marry her without playing the knave, though he could not beget her. M. Mason.
Gra. We have not made good preparation.
Salar. We have not spoke us yet of torch-bearers.2 Salan. 'Tis vile, unless it may be quaintly order'd; And better, in my mind, not undertook.
Lor. 'Tis now but four a-clock; we have two hours To furnish us:
Enter LAUNCELOT, with a letter.
Friend Launcelot, what's the news? Laun. An it shall please you to break up this,3 it shall seem to signify.
Lor. I know the hand: in faith, 'tis a fair hand; And whiter than the paper it writ on,
Is the fair hand that writ.
Laun. By your leave, sir.
Lor. Whither goest thou?
Love-news, in faith.
Laun. Marry, sir, to bid my old master the Jew to sup to-night with my new master the Christian. Lor. Hold here, take this:-tell gentle Jessica, I will not fail her;-speak it privately; go.— Gentlemen, Will you prepare you for this masque to-night? I am provided of a torch-bearer.
Salar. Ay, marry, I'll be gone about it straight.
Meet me, and Gratiano,
[Exeunt SALAR. and SALAN.
Gra. Was not that letter from fair Jessica?
Lor. I must needs tell thee all: She hath directed, How I shall take her from her father's house;
torch-bearers.] See the note in Romeo and Juliet, Act I, sc. iv. We have not spoke us yet, &c. i. e. we have not yet bespoke us, &c. Thus the old copies. It may, however, mean, we have not as yet consulted on the subject of torch-bearers. Mr. Pope reads "spoke as yet." Steevens.
to break up this,] To break up was a term in carving. So, in Love's Labour's Lost, Act III, sc. i:
What gold, and jewels, she is furnish'd with;
That she is issue to a faithless Jew.
Come, go with me; peruse this, as thou goest:
The same. Before Shylock's House.
Enter SHYLOCK and LAUNCELOT.
Shy. Well, thou shalt see, thy eyes shall be thy judge, The difference of old Shylock and Bassanio:What, Jessica!-thou shalt not gormandize, As thou hast done with me;-What, Jessica! And sleep and snore, and rend apparel out;Why, Jessica, I say!
Shy. Who bids thee call? I do not bid thee call. Laun. Your worship was wont to tell me, I could do nothing without bidding.
Jes. Call you? What is your will?
Shy. I am bid forth to supper, Jessica;
But yet I'll go in hate, to feed upon
The prodigal Christian.5-Jessica, my girl,
4 I am bid forth-] I am invited. To bid in old language meant to pray. Malone.
That bid was used for invitation, may be seen in St. Luke's Gospel, ch. xiv, 24: "-none of those which were bidden shall taste of my supper." Harris.
5 to feed upon
The prodigal Christian.] Shylock forgets his resolution. In a former scene he declares he will neither eat, drink, nor pray with Christians. Of this circumstance the poet was aware, and meant only to heighten the malignity of the character, by making him depart from his most settled resolve, for the prosecution of his revenge. Steevens.
Look to my house:-I am right loth to go;
Laun. I beseech you, sir, go; my young master doth expect your reproach.
Shy. So do I his.
Laun. And they have conspired together,—I will not say, you shall see a masque; but if you do, then it was not for nothing that my nose fell a bleeding on BlackMonday last, at six o'clock i'the morning, falling out that year on Ash-wednesday was four year in the after
Shy. What! are there masques? Hear you me, Jessica: Lock up my doors; and when you hear the drum, And the vile squeaking of the wry-neck'd fife,7 Clamber not you up to the casements then, Nor thrust your head into the publick street,
6 then it was not for nothing that my nose fell a bleeding on Black-Monday last,] "Black-Monday is Easter-Monday, and was so called on this occasion: in the 34th of Edward III, (1560) the 14th of April, and the morrow after Easter-day, King Edward, with his host, lay before the city of Paris; which day was full dark of mist and hail, and so bitter cold, that many men died on their horses' backs with the cold. Wherefore, unto this day, it hath been called the Blacke-Monday." Stowe, p. 264-6. Grey. It appears from a passage in Lodge's Rosalynde, 1592, that some superstitious belief was annexed to the accident of bleeding at the nose: "As he stood gazing, his nose on a sudden bled, which made him conjecture it was some friend of his." Steevens. Again, in The Dutchess of Malfy, 1640, Act I, sc. ii: "How superstitiously we mind our evils?
"The throwing downe salt, or crossing of a hare,
"To daunt whole man in us."
Again, Act I, sc. iii:
"My nose bleeds. One that was superstitious would count this ominous, when it merely comes by chance." Reed.
7 Lock up my doors; and when you hear the drum,
And the vile squeaking of the wry-neck’d fife,]
"Primâ nocte domum claude; neque in vias
"Sub cantu querulæ despice tibiæ." Hor. Lib. III, Od. vii.
It appears from hence, that the fifes, in Shakspeare's time, were formed differently from those now in use, which are straight, not wry-necked. M. Mason.