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28. the martlet. See Macbeth, i. 6. 4: 'The temple-haunting martlet,'
29. in the weather, exposed to storms. See King John, iv. 2. leg:
'Pour down thy weather,' and Cymbeline, iii. 3. 64:
"Left me bare to weather.'
The word was also used in the general sense, as ' good weather,'' fair weather,' &c.
32. jump with, agree with. See I Henry IV. i. 2. 78: 'In some sort it jumps with my humour.' The verb is used also absolutely in Twelfth Night, v. i. 259:
'Till each circumstance Of place, time, fortune, do cohere and jump That I am Viola.' 'Jump' is found also as an adjective ' suitable,' and an adverb 'just,'' exactly.'
43. purchased, won, acquired. See Richard II. i. 3. 282: 'Go, say I sent thee forth to purchase honour;' and 1 Timothy iii. 13.
44. cover, wear their hats, as masters. See As You Like It, iii. 3. 78: 'Pray be covered.'
46-49. Dr. Johnson, in order to remedy the confusion of metaphors, proposed to read,
From the true seed of honour! and how much honour
But Shakespeare's luxuriant fancy cannot be pruned thus.
61. distinct. Accented on the first syllable. In Shakespeare the accents are particularly fluctuating in the case of words of foreign derivation.
68. I wis, a corruption of ' ywis,' the Old English equivalent of the German gewiss.
69. so was this. The idiot's picture was silvered o'er, being in the silver casket.
70. 71. 'Whether you marry or not, you will always have a fool's head.' In these lines there is perhaps a reference to the text ' The husband is the head of the wife.' (Ephesians v. 23.) Johnson is hypercritical when he finds fault with this doggrel for being inconsistent with Arragon's oath not to marry.
74. By the time, in proportion to the time.
81. They are so over-wise that their subtlety leads them to make a wrong choice.
83. Compare All's Well that Ends Well, i. 3.65 : 'Your marriage comes by destiny.'
85. my lord. Portia jestingly addresses the servant by a title corresponding to that which he had used in addressing her. Compare 1 Henry IV. ii.
'Hostess. O Jesu, my lord the prince!
Prince. How now, my lady the hostess!'
89. sensible, evident to the senses, substantial. See Macbeth, ii. 1. 36: 'Art thou not, fatal vision, sensible To feeling as to sight?'
89. regreets, greetings. See King John, iii. 1. 241:
'Unyoke this seizure and this kind regreet.'
90. commends, commendations, compliments. See Richard II. iii. 1. 38: 'Tell her I send to her my kind commends.'
91. Yet I have not, I have never yet.
92. likely, promising, one whose appearance suited the message he had to deliver. In much the same sense the-Avord occurs, 2 Henry IV. iii. 2. 273: * They are your likeliest men.'
98. high-day wit. See Merry Wives of Windsor, iii. 2. 69: • He writes verses, he speaks holiday, he smells April and May,' and 1 Henry IV. i. 3. 49:
'With many holiday and lady terms
He question'd me.'
loo. post, postman, courier. See Coriolanus, v. 6. 50:
1. It lives there unchecked, the rumour is current there uncontradicted.
3. the narrow seas, the English Channel. See ii. 8. 28. In the ' Prologue of the processe of the Libel of English policie,' published in Hakluyt's Voyages (i. p. 187, ed. 1599) we find:
'Cherish Marchandise, keepe the admiraltie; That we bee Masters of the narrowe see.' And again, of Calais and Dover:
'Keepe these two Townes sure, and your Maiestee
Sir John Hawkins writing to Lord Burghley, Nov. 30, 1593, ' sends a note of the pay for the ships serving in the Narrow Seas.' (Calendar of State Papers, 1591-1594, p. 389.)
Ib. the Goodwins, the Goodwin Sands, off the eastern coast of Kent. The name is supposed to be derived from Earl Godwin, whose property, according to tradition, was swallowed up by the sea, A.d. 1ioo. See King John, v. 3. ii:
'Wreck'd three nights ago on Goodwin Sands,' and v. 5. 13 of the same play.
5. Compare Richard II. ii. 1. 286: 'eight tall ships.'
9. knapped, snapped, broke into small pieces. Compare Psalm xlvi. 9, Prayer-book: 'He knappeth the spear in sunder.' Ginger was a favourite condiment with old people.
24. the wings she flew withal, the boy's dress in which she made her escape.
26. complexion, nature, disposition, temperament. Cotgrave translates the French complexion thus: 'The complexion, making, temper, constitution of the bodie; also, the disposition, affection, humors, or inclination of the mind.'
34. match, agreement, bargain.
36. smug, neat, trim. See 1 Henry IV, iii. 1. loa: 'The smug and silver Trent.'
43. hindered me half a million, hindered me from gaining half a million ducats.
48. affections, when contrasted with ' passions,' seem to denote emotions produced through the senses by external objects. Compare iv. 1. 49:
Mistress of passion, sways it to the mood
Steevens quotes from Greene's Never Too Late: 'His heart was fuller of passions than his eyes of affections.'
Ib. fed. Supply the ellipsis ' Is he not.'
59. it shall go hard . . . The obstacles must be great indeed which shall prevent me from improving upon your teaching.
64. cannot be matched, cannot be found to match them.
70. cost, which cost: an instance of the frequent ellipsis of the relative.
Ib. Frankfort. In Coryat's Crudities (p. 562, ed. 1611) we find: 'There are two things which make this citie famous ouer all Europe. The one the election of the King of the Romanes, the other the two noble tayres kept heere twise a yeare, which are called the Martes of Franckford.'
76. Why thou loss upon loss .' For 'thou' the second folio has 'then,' and Mr. Lloyd proposes to read ' there I'
84. 'An argosy bound to Tripolis' is mentioned among Antonio's ventures, i. 3. 17.
89. where? Rowe's correction. The quartos have heere, and the forms here, without a note of interrogation.
1O2. It was my turquoise; I bad it of Leah when I was a bachelor. 'With the Germans it [ihe turquoise) is yet the gem appropriated to the ring, the "gage d'amour" presented by the lover on the acceptance of his suit, the permanence of its colour being believed to depend on the constancy of his affection.' (King, Natural History of Gems, p. 67.) It was also supposed to look bright or pale according as its wearer was well or ill. Hence Ben Jonson in his Sejanus, i. 1:
• And true as turkise in the deare lords ring,
Looke well, or ill, with him.'
It was moreover believed to have the power of warning its wearer against approaching danger.
107. fee me an officer, engage me an officer to be ready to arrest Antonio. In Boswell's edition of 1821 'fee' is misprinted 'see.'
nO. Shakespeare probably intended to add another shade of darkness to the character of Shylock, by making him still formally devout while meditating his horrible vengeance. Coryat (p. 231) says that there were at least seven synagogues in Venice.
6. Hatred would not give counsels of such a kind as those which I am giving you.
8. Portia means, * And yet, since a maiden may only think and not speak her thoughts, you will not understand me, however long you stay.'
15. o'erlooked, fascinated, bewitched. See Merry Wives of Windsor, v.
• Vile worm, thou wast o'erlook'd even in thy birth.'
18. naughty, wicked. This word, now banished to the nursery, had formerly a wider meaning. See for example v. 1.91:
'So shines a good deed in a naughty world.'
20, 2T. Prove it so, Let Fortune go to hell for it, not I. 'If it prove that I, who am yours by affection, am not yours owing to your unlucky choice of casket, Fortune ought to suffer the penalty, not I: and yet to lose you will be hell to me.' This passage is an instance of that condensation of thought which so frequently makes Shakespeare's language obscure.
22. peize the time. Cotgrave translates the Frenchpeser, 'To peise, poise, weigh; to ponder, perpend, consider.' Hence ' to peise the time' may mean * to weigh with deliberation each precious moment.' Steevens interprets, 'to weight the time that it may pass slowly.' Rowe, Johnson, and Dyce read 'piece the time;' and Mr. Collier's MS. corrector, 'pause the time.' Henley quotes from Sir Philip Sidney's Apology for Poetry: ' Not speaking words as they chanceably fall from the mouth, but peyzing each sillable.' The word is used in the sense of ' poise' in King John, ii. 1.575:
* The world, who of itself is peised well;' and in the sense of' weigh,' in Richard III, v. 3. 105: 'Lest leaden slumber peise me down.'
29. fear the enjoying, doubt whether I shall enjoy.
30, 31. Treason and my love can no more exist together in friendship than snow and fire.
33. It is pleasant to find Shakespeare before his age in denouncing the futility of this barbarous method of extorting truth. He was old enough to remember the case of Francis Throckmorton in 1584; and that of Squires in 1598 was fresh in his mind. See Lingard's History of England, vol. v.
PP- 405. 558.
35. Had you said 'love' instead of 'live,' you would have expressed all that I have to confess.
39. Here the curtain is withdrawn which concealed the caskets, as in the former scenes.
44. The notion that swans sang just before their death was a favourite one with Shakespeare. See Othello, v. 2. 247:
'I will play the swan,
* I am the cygnet to this pale faint swan,
The source from which it became popularly known was probably Ovid,
'Sic ubi fata vocant udis abjectus in herbis
45. Fading, vanishing, departing. The same word is used for 'dying.' See Tempest, i. 2. 399:
'Nothing of him that doth fade
'It faded on the crowing of the cock.'
49. At the coronation of English sovereigns the moment of the putting on of the crown is announced by a flourish of trumpets.
52. The musicians who were to accompany the bridegroom to the house of the bride went betimes to awaken him.
54. with much more love. Because Hercules rescued Hesione, not for love of the lady, but for the sake of the horses promised him by Laomedon. See Ovid's Metamorphoses, xi. 211-214:
'Regis quoque filia monstro
Poscirur aequoreo: quam dura ad saxa revinctam
63. fancy. The word is used as synonymous with ' love' in Twelfth Night, 1.1.9-14:
• O spirit of love! how quick and fresh art thou,
so full of shapes is fancy
That it alone is high fantastical.' See also Much Ado About Nothing, iii. 2. 31: 'Claudia. Yet, say I, he is in love.
D. Pedro. There is no appearance of fancy in him, unless it be the fancy that he hath to strange disguises.'
In ' The Shepheeard's Ode,' by Rich. Barnefielde (England's Helicon), the two are distinguished as working against each other: * Loue commanded me to loue, Fancy bade me not remoue My affection from the Swaine Whom I neuer could obtained
In the present passage ' fancy' seems to be censured as a feeling neither bred in heart nor in brain, but in the eye only, penetrating no deeper and lasting only while its object is in sight. A warning may be intended to Bassanio not to allow his judgment to be led astray by the glitter of the gold and silver caskets.
67. eyes. So the folio. The quartos have eye.
73. Bassanio pursues his train of thought aloud: 'So external appearances of things may be most unlike the things themselves.'
74. still, constantly. See i. 1.136.
76. season'd. This carries on the metaphor suggested by ' tainted' in the preceding line. Compare Twelfth Night, i. 1. 30:
'And water once a day her chamber round