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I'll not be made a soft and dull-ey'd fool,
Ant. Let him alone,
Sola. I am sure, the Duke
Ant. The Duke cannot deny the course of law ; (20)
(20) The Duke cannot deny] As this Sentence seems a little perplex'd and obscure, it may not be amiss to give it a short Explanation. “ Duke cannot deny the Course of Law, (says Anthonio;) for if its Course “ be denied, the Privilege that Strangers have, being violated, will cry “ out against the Injustice". This is very much to the Purpose ; for he does not say, that the Justice of the State could indeed be impeach'd by Itopping the Course of Law in his Case: For, indeed, it was the utmost Justice to stop it here: But that Strangers would accuse it of Injustice. This shews the true Temper of the State of Venice, and of all other trading States ; which will always more fear an Inconvenience than an Injustice. The Jealousy, that foreign Merchants may entertain of Injustice, being always more carefully guarded against, than Injustice itfelf.
SCENE changes to BELMONT.
You have a noble and a true conceit
your husband, I know, you would be prouder of the work, Than customary bounty can enforce you.
Por. I never did repent of doing good,
(21) This comes too near the praising of my self;
Therefore no more of it: here other things,
Lorenzo, I commit &c.] Thus has this Paffage been writ and pointed, but absurdly, thro' all the Editions. Portia finding the Reflections she had made came too near Self-praise, begins to chide herself for it :
: says, She'll say no more of that Sort; but call a new Subject. The Regulation I have made in the Text was likewise prescrib'd by Dr. Thirlby.
Only attended by Nerisa here,
Lor. Madam, with all my heart;
Por. My people do already know my mind;
Lor. Fair thoughts and happy hours attend on you !
Por. I thank you for your wish, and am well pleas'd
[Exeunt Jer. and Lor.
Bal. Madam, I go with all convenient speed. [Exit.
Por. Come on, Nerisa ; I have work in hand, That you yet know not of: we'll see our husbands Before they think of us.
(22) In speed to Mantua ;] Thus all the old Copies; and thus all the Modern Editors implicitly after them. But 'tis evident to any diligent Reader, that We must restore, as I have done, In Speed to Padua : For it was there, and not at Mantua, Bellario liv’d. So afterwards; A Messenger, with Letters from the Doctor, New come from Padua And again, Came you from Padua, from Bellario? - And again, It comes from Padua, from Bellario. — Belides, Padua, not Mantua, is the Place of Education for the Civil Law in Italy.
I have in my
Ner. Shall they see us ?
Por. They shall, Nerisa; but in such a habit,
Ner. Shall we turn to men ?
Por. Fie, what a question's that,
measure twenty miles to day. [Exeunt.
Enter Launcelot and Jessica. Laun. Yes, truly: for, look you, the sins of the father are to be laid upon the children; therefore, I promise you,
I fear you. I was always plain with you; and so now I speak my agitation of the matter: therefore be of good cheer; for truly, I think, you are damn'd: there is but one hope in it that can do you any good, and that is but a kind of bastardhope neither.
Fef. And what hope is that, I pray thee?
Laun. Marry, you may partly hope that your father got you not, that you are not the Jew's daughter.
Fes. That were a kind of bastard hope, indeed ; la the sins of my mother should be visited upon me,
Laun. Truly, then, I fear, you are damn'd both by father and mother; thus when you lhun Scylla, (23) your father, you fall into Charybdis, your mother: well, you are gone both ways.
Jes. I Ihall be saved by my husband; he hath made me a christian.
Laun. Truly, the more to blame he; we were christians enough before, e'en as many as could well live one by another : this making of christians will raise the price of hogs ; if we grow all to be pork-eaters, we shall not shortly have a rasher on the coals for mony.
Enter Lorenzo. Jef: I'll tell my husband, Launcelot, what you say: here he comes.
Lor. I shall grow jealous of you shortly, Launcelot, if you thus get my wife into corners.
Fef. Nay, you need not fear us, Lorenzo; LaunceTot and I are out ; he tells me flatly, there is no mercy for me in heav'n, because I am a Jew's daughter: and he says, you are no good member of the common-wealth; for, in converting Jews to christians, you raise the price of pork.
Lor. I shall answer that better to the commonwealth, than you can the gecting up of the negro's belly: the Moor is with child by you, Launcelot.
Laun. It is much, that the Moor should be more than
(23) Thus when you shun Scylla, your Father,] By the Allufion which Launcelot makes here, 'tis evident, Shakespeare was no Stranger to this Hexameter, nor the Application of it;
Incidit in Scyllam cupiens vitare Charybdim. Erasmus, in his Adagies, quotes this Verse as one very much in Vogue with the Latines ; but says, he does not remember its Author. I prefume, it might have been founded upon the Greek proverbial Sentence, likewife quoted by him, Τήν Χάρυβδιν εκφυγων τη Σκύλλη περιέπεσον. This is one of those lambics, he tells us, which were called, Dimetri exéod.101. For my own part, (throwing out this cramp Definition) I think it might have been a plain lambic, as most of the proverbial Gnomes were, and only dismounted from its Numbers by the unnecessary Insertion of the Articles. I would read it ; Σκύλλη περιέπεσον, Χάρυβδιν εκφυγών.