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90. entertain, maintain, or keep. The word is used in a sense somewhat similar in 1 Henry VI. v. 4.175:
"For here we entertain a solemn peace.'
91. 92. opinion Of wisdom, i.e. reputation for wisdom. Opinion is used in the same sense below, 1. 102. So I Henry IV. iv. 1. 77:
'It lends a lustre and more great opinion,
92. conceit. The word is used by Shakespeare and his contemporaries for 'thought/ 'conception,' 'imagination,' sometimes 'a thought,' 'an idea," but never in the modern sense.
93. As who should say. 'Who' is here used indefinitely, and the phrase is equivalent to 'As if one should say.' So in French, ' comme qui dirait.' Compare Richard II. v. 4. 8:
'He wistly look'd on me;
As who should say, " I would thou wert the man
We find the same use in older writers, as e. g. Gower's Confessio Amantis, i. p. 285, ed. Pauli:
'She hath hem in such wise daunted That they were, as who saith, enchaunted.' The phrase recurs in this play, i. 2. 40.
97-99. To mend the halting grammar by supplying a nominative to would, Rowe read who instead of when. An equally easy emendation has been suggested, 't would for would; but as Shakespeare's grammar is frequently lax, the text probably stands as he wrote it. The clause 'If they should speak,' equivalent to 'their speaking,' serves for subject to the following verb. There is a reference to Matt. v. 22, 'Whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire;' and the meaning is,' Their brother men, who heard them speak, would call them fools, and so imperil their own salvation.'
108. moe, the old form, changed by Rowe to more. Both forms are used by Shakespeare.
11O. gear, i.e. 'matter,' 'subject,' or 'affair in hand.' See ii. 2. 153: 'Well, if Fortune be a woman, she's a good wench for this gear.' In other places it means ' dress,' as Love's Labour 's Lost, v. 2. 303:
'Disguised like Muscovites in shapeless gear.'
113. 7s that any thing now? Rowe's emendation. The older editions read 'It is that any thing now.' Johnson proposed 'Is that any thing newt'
123. disabled, i.e. 'damaged,' 'embarrassed;' 'depreciated' in the literal sense. It is also used for 'depreciate' in the metaphorical sense, ' disparage,' as in this play, ii. 7. 30:
'And yet to be afeard of my deserving
124. something, i.e. 'somewhat.' Pope, inverting the words, read 'shewing something.'
76. swelling port, i. e. ostentatious bearing. Compare Holinshed, ii, p. 1102, col. 2: 'King Richarde beeing destitute of treasure to furnishe iuche a Princely porte as he mainteined, borrowed greate summes of money of many of the greate Lordes and Peeres of hys realme.'
125. continuance. The complete construction would be 'continuance of.' Such omissions are frequent in Shakespeare. Compare iv. 1. Ms.
1 26. make moan to be abridged, complain that I am curtailed. See iii. 3. 23, and Ecclesiasticus xxxviii. 19.
130. gaged, i. e. pledged. So I Henry IV. i. 3. 173:
136. still, not 'as yet,' but 'constantly.' So Tempest, i. 2. 229:
'The still-vex'd Bermoothes.'
137. Within the eye of honour, i.e. within the scope of honour's vision, within the limits of that which can be regarded as honourable. In Winter's Tale, iii. 2. 52, we have ' beyond The bound of honour.'
139. occasions. To be pronounced as a quadrisyllable, ion at the end of a word, and particularly at the close of a line, is commonly a dissyllable in Shakespeare.
141. his fellow, &c., i. e. an arrow calculated for the same range, identical in length, weight, and feathering. 'Flight' was a technical term. See Much Ado About Nothing, i. I. 40: 'He set up his bills here in Messina, and challenged Cupid at the flight,' i. e. challenged Cupid who should shoot farthest. According to Leland (Itin. ed. 3, vol. iv. p. 44) a flight shot was about equal to the width of the Thames above London-bridge. Ascham uses the word 'flight' precisely in the sense which it has in this passage of Shakespeare: 'You must have divers shafts of one flight, feathered with divers wings, for divers winds.' (Toxophilus, Book ii. p. 126, ed. Giles.)
142. advised, \. e. deliberate, careful. So Bacon, in his 56th Essay, says, judges ought to be' more advised than confident.' See also Henry V. i. 2.I 79:
'While that the armed hand doth fight abroad,
The advised head defends itself at home.' We still use 'unadvised' in the opposite sense.
143. find the other forth, i. e. find the other out. See Com. of Err. i. 2.38:
'I to the world am like a drop of water
76. The line, as it stands, has a superfluous foot. Mr. Lloyd proposes 'him' for 'the other,' and Mr. Dyce ' venturing' for 'by adventuring.'
144. childhood proof, childish test or experiment. 'Childhood ' is used as an adjective in Midsummer Night's Dream, iii. 2. 202:
'All school-days' friendship, childhood innocence.'
146. wilful. 'Witness 'and'wasteful'have been suggested, but no change is required. 'Wilful' here means ' obstinate in extravagance.'
148. that self way, i.e. that same or self-same way. See Twelfth Night i. J. 39,'one self king;' and Richard II. i. 2. 23:
'That metal, that self mould, that fashion'd thee,
'Self' in this sense is frequent in Chaucer, and was used as late as Dryden's time.
150, 151. or . . Or, i. e. either . . Or. Compare Julius Caesar, ii. 1.135: 'To think that or our cause or our performance
Did need an oath.'
154. circumstance; here equivalent to ' circumlocution.' See Hamlet, i. 5. 127':
'And so, without more circumstance at all,
And Greene's Tu Quoque (Dodsley's Old Plays, vii. 93, ed. 1825):
'Pride, pomp and circumstance of glorious war.' 156. In doubting my readiness to do my utmost in your service. 160. prest, i.e. ready. This is the only passage of Shakespeare in which the word occurs in this sense, unless we include Pericles, Act iv. Prologue, line 45:
'The pregnant instrument of wrath
Prest for this blow.'
'Finding there ready prest
The word is derived from the French 'prest,' the old form of ' get,' and that from * praestus ' a late Latin adjective from the classical * praesto.'
163. Sometimes and sometime are often used by Shakespeare indifferently, with the signification ' formerly,' ' in time past.' When the former occurred in this sense, the earlier editors usually altered it to ' sometime.' See Richard II. i. 2. 54:
'Thy sometimes brother's wife.'
So also in the Authorized Version, Ephesians ii. 13: 'Ye who sometimes were far off.' We learn from the close of the second scene that Bassanio had visited Belmont previously.
165, 166. undervalued To, inferior in value to. See ii. 7. 53:
'Being ten times undervalued to tried gold.'
166. Brutus' Portia was introduced by the poet in Julius Caesar. She is described by Plutarch (according to North's translation, published 1575, and used by Shakespeare) as being famous for • chastity and greatness of mind,' and besides 'well seen in philosophy.' (pp. 798, 996, ed. 1631.)
171. strand, written 'strond' in the old editions, and doubtless once so pronounced.
172. Another allusion to the expedition of the Argonauts is found in this play, iii. a. 243:
'We are the Jasons, we have won the fleece.'
175- I have a mind [which] presages. The omission of the relative is very common in Shakespeare. See Richard II. ii. 1. 173:
'In war was never lion raged more fierce.'
And the passage from The Taming of the Shrew, quoted below in note ou 1. 178.
Ib. thrift, thriving, success. So Hamlet, iii. 2. 67:
1/8. Neither. Pope unnecessarily substituted Nor, for the sake of the metre. 'Neither,' * either/ 'whether ' were frequently pronounced as monosyllables. Antonio's speech is scarcely consistent with what he had previously said. See 11. 41-45.
Ib. commodity, i. e. merchandise (which might be pledged as security for a loan). So Twelfth Night, iii. 1. 50: 'Now Jove, in his next commodity of hair, send thee a beard.' And Taming of the Shrew, ii. 1. 330:
'' Twas a commodity lay fretting by you.'
The word means 'gain,' ' advantage' in other places. See for example King John, ii. 1. 597:
'Since kings break faith upon commodity,
Gain, be my lord, for I will worship thee.'
It is in this sense that Faulconbridge rails against ' commodity' throughout his speech.
183. presently, i. e. instantly. So Winter's Tale, v. 3. 86:
'Quit presently the chapel.' And Two Gentlemen of Verona, ii. 1. 30:
'When you fasted, it was presently after dinner.'
The word is used in the same sense in the Authorized Version of the Bible. See 1 Samuel ii. 16, and Matthew xxvi. 53.
184, 185. I do not doubt that I shall have the money lent to me, either on my credit as a merchant or from personal friendship.
Belmont. The places where the respective scenes occur are not marked in the quartos or folios. They have been supplied by more recent editors.
6, 7. no mean happiness. The folios read 'no small happiness,' thus losing the play upon the word 'mean.'
8. comes sooner by, sooner acquires. So i. 1. 3:
'How I found it, caught it, or came by it.'
9. sentences, maxims. So in Twelfth Night, iii. 1. 13:
4 A sentence is but a cheveril glove to a good wit.'
19. This reasoning, &c. This conversation is not such as will help me in choosing a husband. For this sense of ' reasoning,' see ii. 8. 27:
'I reason'd with a Frenchman yesterday.' For 'This reasoning' the folios have ' This reason,' a manifest error.
21. whom . . . whom. So the folios. The quartos read 'who ... who,' as Shakespeare very probably wrote, for he frequently uses 'who' in the objective case.
22. Shakespeare, more suo, plays upon the two senses of 'will.'
23. 24. We should say in modern English, 'Is it not hard that I can neither choose one nor refuse any?' For 'nor' after 'not,' see Macbeth, ii.
'Tongue nor heart Cannot conceive nor name thee,' and for the double negative, King John, v. 7. 112:
'This England never did, nor never shall,
28-30. will, no doubt, never be chosen by any rightly, but one who shall rightly love. The second quarto and the folios read 'but one who you shall rightly love.' In this point we have followed the first quarto as the higher authority, though in the first clause it reads erroneously 'no doubt you wil never be chosen &c.'
M. level, aim, guess. See Pericles, i. 1. 165:
'Hits the mark His eye doth level at.'
And for ' level' as a substantive, Romeo and Juliet, iii. 3. 103: 'Shot from the deadly level of a gun.'
35 sqq. Malone says: 'Though our author, when he composed this play, could not have read the following passage in Florio's translation of Montaigne's Essaies, 1603, he had perhaps met with the relation in some other book of that time: "While I was a young lad (says old Montaigne) I saw the prince of Salmona, at Naples, manage a young, a rough, and fierce horse, and show all manner of horsemanship."'
36. colt, used sometimes metaphorically for 'a wild rough youth,' and here with a play upon its double meaning.
39. County, i.e. Count. See Twelfth Night, i. 5. 320: 'Run after that same peevish messenger,
The county's man.'
Johnson supposes that Shakespeare alludes to a certain Polish Palatine, Alberta Lasco, or Laski, who visited England in 1583, and was received with unusual distinction by Elizabeth. But this event took place when our author was still at Stratford, and so long before the production of this play, that the allusion would be unintelligible to the audience.
41. If. So the first quarto. The second quarto has &, the folios and, whence modern editors have an or an if.
42. the weeping philosopher, i. e. another Heraclitus. 44. rather be, quartos: rather to be, folios.
47. How say you by, &c. How say you with reference to, &c. So ii. g. 26:
'That " many" may be meant By the fool multitude.'
And 1 Corinthians iv. 4: 'I know nothing by myself,' equivalent to ovtiv yap efiaiir^ (ruvojtia of the original. So in the common ' sentence:' 'do as you would be done by.'
52. throstle. This is Pope's emendation. The word is spelt • trassell' in the quartos and first folio, 'tarssell' in the second folio, 'tassell' in the third and fourth. See Midsummer Night's Dream, iii. 1. 130:
'The throstle with his note so true,' where it is spelt consistently ' throstle' in the quartos and folios.
59. Portia playfully uses the phrase ' say to' in a different sense from that which Nerissa meant.
62. You will bear me witness that I have but a very small stock of English.
63. a proper man, a handsome man. Midsummer Night's Dream, i. 2.88: 'Pyramus is a sweet-faced man; a proper man, as one shall see in a summer's day,' And Hebrews xi. 23: 'Because they saw he was a proper child.'