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By the exaction of the forfeiture?
Ant. Yes, Shylock, I will seal unto this bond.
Shy. Then meet me forthwith at the notary's; Give him direction for this merry bond, And I will go and purse the ducats straight ; See to my house, left in the fearful guard Of an unthrifty knave; and presently I will * be with you.
Hie thee, gentle Jew. This Hebrew will turn Christian; he grows kind *.
Bass. I like not fair terms 4, and a villain's mind.
Ant. Come on; in this there can be no dismay, My ships come home a month before the day.
* First folio and quartos, I'le. + Quarto R. so kind.
3 — left in the FEARFUL GUARD, &c.] Fearful guard, is a guard that is not to be trusted, but gives cause of fear. To fear was anciently to give as well as feel terrours. Johnson. So, in King Henry IV. Part I. :
“ A mighty and a fearful head they are.” Steevens. 4 I like not fair terms,] Kind words, good language.
Johnson, Fair terms, mean, I think, a fair offer. Roberts.
ACT II. SCENE I.
Belmont. A Room in Portia's House.
Flourish of Cornets. Enter the Prince of Morocco,
and his Train ; Portia, Nerissa, and other of her Attendants.
Mor. Mislike me not for my complexion, The shadowed livery of the burnish'd sun, To whom I am a neighbour, and near bred. Bring me the fairest creature northward born, Where Phoebus' fire scarce thaws the icicles, And let us make incision for your love, To prove whose blood is reddest, his, or mine 6. I tell thee, lady, this aspect of mine Hath fear’d the valiant?; by my love, I swear, The best regarded virgins of our clime Have lov'd it too: I would not change this hue, Except to steal your thoughts, my gentle queen.
Por. In terms of choice I am not solely led By nice direction of a maiden's eyes :
s – the Prince of Morocco,] The old stage direction is “ Enter Morochus a tawnie Moore, all in white, and three or foure followers accordingly,” &c. Steevens.
6 To prove whose blood is reddest, his, or mine.] To understand how the tawny prince, whose savage dignity is very well supported, means to recommend himself by this challenge, it must be remembered that red blood is a traditionary sign of courage : Thus Macbeth calls one of his frighted soldiers, a lily-liver'd boy; again, in this play, Cowards are said to have livers as white as milk; and an effeminate and timorous man is termed a milksop.
Johnson. It is customary in the east for lovers to testify the violence of their passion by cutting themselves in the sight of their mistresses. See Habits du Levant, pl. 43, and Picart's Religious Ceremonies, vol. vii. p. 111. HARRIS.
7 Hath Fear'd the valiant;] i. e. terrify'd. To fear is often used by our old writers, in this sense. So, in K. Henry VI. P. III. :
“ For Warwick was a bug that fear'd us all." Steevens.
Besides, the lottery of my destiny
Even for that I thank you ;
* First folio and quarto H. ore-stare. • And hedg’d me by his wit,] I suppose we may safely readand hedg’d me by his will. Confined me by his will. Johnson.
As the ancient signification of wit, was sagacity, or power of mind, I have not displaced the original reading. See our author, passim. Steevens.
9 That slew the Sophy, &c.] Shakspeare seldom escapes well when he is entangled with geography. The Prince of Morocco must have travelled far to kill the Sophy of Persia. Johnson.
It were well, if Shakspeare had never entangled himself with geography worse than in the present case. If the Prince of Morocco be supposed to have served in the army of Sultan Solyman (the second, for instance,) I see no geographical objection to his having killed the Sophi of Persia. See D'Herbelot in Solyman Ben Selim. TYRWHITT.
So is Alcides beaten by his page ;] The ancient copies read - his rage. Steevens. Though the whole set of editions concur in this reading, it in
And so may I, blind fortune leading me,
You must take your chance ;
chance. Por. First, forward to the temple; after dinner Your hazard shall be made. Mor.
Good fortune then! [Cornets. To make me blest", or cursed'st among men.
corrupt at bottom. Let us look into the poet's drift, and the history of the persons mentioned in the context. If Hercules, (says he,) and Lichas were to play at dice for the decision of their superiority, Lichas, the weaker man, might have the better cast of the two. But how then is Alcides beaten by his rage? The poet means no more, than, if Lichas had the better throw, so might Hercules himself be beaten by Lichas. And who was he, but a poor unfortunate servant of Hercules, that unknowingly brought his master the envenomed shirt, dipped in the blood of the Centaur Nessus, and was thrown headlong into the sea for his pains; this one circumstance of Lichas's quality known, sufficiently ascertains the emendation I have substituted, page instead of rage. THEOBALD.
therefore be advis'.] Therefore be not precipitant ; consider well what you are to do. Advis’d is the word opposite to rash. JOHNSON. So, in K. Richard III. :
STEEVENS. 3- bless't,] i. e. blessed'st. So, in King Richard III. :
harmless't creature;” a frequent vulgar contraction in Warwickshire. Steevens.
There is no trace in the old copies of any contraction, the word being printed blest ; and in K. Richard III. the old copies read harmless, not harmless't. Malone.
Venice. A Street.
Enter LAUNCELOT GOBBO*. LAUN. Certainly my conscience will serve me to run from this Jew, my master: The fiend is at mine elbow; and tempts me, saying to me, Gobbo, Launcelot Gobbo, good Launcelot, or good Gobbo, or good Launcelot Gobbo, use your legs, take the start, run away : My conscience says,-no ; take heed, honest Launcelot ; take heed, honest Gobbo ; or, as aforesaid, honest Launcelot Gobbo; do not run; scorn running with thy heels 5: Well, the most courageous fiend bids me pack; via ! says
4 Enter Launcelot Gobbo.] The old copies read_Enter the Clown alone ; and throughout the play this character is called the Clown at most of his entrances or exits. Steevens.
— SCORN RUNNING with thy heels :] Launcelot was designed for a wag, but perhaps not for an absurd one. We may therefore suppose, no such expression would have been put in his mouth, as our author had censured in another character. When
“ he hears with ears," Sir Hugh Evans very properly is made to exclaim, “ The tevil and his tam ! what phrase is this, he hears with ears? why it is affectations.” To talk of running with one's heels, has scarce less of absurdity. It has been suggested, that we should read and point the passage as follows : * Do not run; scorn running; withe thy heels : i. e. connect them with a withe, (a band made of osiers) as the legs of cattle are hampered in some countries, to prevent their straggling far from home. The Irishman in Sir John Oldcastle petitions to be hanged in a withe ; and Chapman, in his version of the tenth Odyssey, has the following passage :
- There let him lie
A with, a fathom long, with which his feete
“ I made together in a sure league meete.” I think myself bound, however, to add, that in Much Ado About Nothing, the very phrase, that in the present instance is disputed, occurs :
“O illegitimate construction ! I scorn that with my heels ; ” i. e. I recalcitrate, kick up contemptuously at the idea, as animals