صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

1

Line 272.

he hath neither Latin, French, nor Italian;] A satire on the ignorance of the young English travellers in our author's time.

WARBURTON. Line 281. -Scottish lord,] Scottish, which is in the quarto, was omitted in the first folio, for fear of giving offence to king James's countrymen.

THEOBALD. Line 286. I think, the Frenchmen became his surety,] Alluding to the constant assistance, or rather constant promises of assistance, that the French gave the Scots in their quarrels with the English. This alliance is here humourously satirized. WARBURTON.

Line 288. How like you the young German, &c.] In Shakspeare's time the duke of Bavaria visited London, and was made knight of the Garter.

Perhaps in this enumeration of Portia's suitors, there may be some covert allusion to those of queen

Elizabeth. JOHNSON.

ACT I. SCENE III. Line 287. If I can catch him once upon the hip,] A phrase taken from the practice of wrestlers.

JOHNSON. See Genesis, c. xxxii. v. 24, &c.

Line 305. -the ripe wants of my friend,] Ripe wants are wants come to the height, wants that can have no longer delay. Perhaps we might read, rife wants, wants that come thick upon him.

JOHNSON. Line 306. -possessid,] To possess, in our author, generally means, to inform, to acquaint.

Line 350. 0, what a goodly outside falshood hath!] Falshood, which, as truth means honesty, is taken here for treachery and knavery, does not stand for falshood in general, but for the dishonesty now operating.

JOHNSON,
Line 357. my usances;] Usance formerly meant, the in-
terest of money.
Line 383.

A breed for barren metal of his friend ?] A breed, that is, interest money bred from the principal. By the epithet barren, the author would instruct us in the argument on which the advocates against usury went, which is this, that money is a barren thing, and cannot like corn and cattle multiply itself. And

to set off the absurdity of this kind of usury, he put breed and barren in opposition.

WARBURTON. Line 406. dwell in my necessity.] To dwell seems in this place to mean the same as to continue. To abide has both the senses of habitation and continuance.

JOHNSON. Line 426. 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 Henry IV. Part 1.:

A mighty and a fearful head they are.” STEEVENS. Line 431. I like not fair terms.] Kind words, goud language.

Johnson.

ACT II. SCENE I.

Line 7. To prove whose blood is reddest, his or mine.] To understand how the tawney 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 Lown; 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. Line 9. Hath fear'd the valiant;] i. e. Terrified. To fear is often used by our old writers, in this sense.

STEEVENS. Line 26. 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. JOHNS.

Line 44. therefore be advis'd.] Therefore be not precipitant; consider well what you are to do. Advis'd is the word opposite to rash.

JOHNSON. Line 50.

-bless't,] Means, most blessed.

ACT II. SCENE II. Line 90. Turn up, on your right-hand, &c.] This arch and perplexed direction, to puzzle the enquirer, seems to imitate that of Syrus to Demea in The Brothers of Terence. WARBURTON.

Line 94. God's sonties,] Probably used as an oath, though the origin of it cannot be traced.

Line 135. — your child that shall be.] Launcelot, by your child that shall be, may mean, that his duty to his father shall, for the future, shew him to be his child. It became necessary for him to say something of that sort, after all the tricks he had been playing him.

STEEVENS. Line 210. -more guarded.] i. e. More ornamented. Steev.

212. Well, if any man in Italy have a fairer table, which doth offer to swear upon a book.] Table is the palm of the hand opened to its utmost.

Launcelot congratulates himself upon his dexterity and good fortune, and, in the height of his rapture, inspects his hand, and congratulates himself upon the felicities in his table. The act of expounding his hand puts him in mind of the action in which the palm is shewn, by raising it to lay it on the book, in judicial attestations. Well, says he, if any man in Italy have a fairer table, that doth offer to swear upon a book- Here he stops with an abruptness very common, and proceeds to particulars. Johnson.

Line 219. –in peril of my life with the edge of a feather-bed;] A cant phrase to signify the danger of marrying. -A certain French writer uses the same kind of figure, O mon ami, j'aimerois mieux être tombée sur la pointe d'un oreiller, & m'être rompu le cou.

WARBURTON. Line 244. Something too liberal ;] Liberal I have already shewn to be mean, gross, coarse, licentious.

JOHNSON. Line 257. -sad ostent- -] Grave appearance; shew of staid and serious behaviour.

JOHNSON.

ACT II, SCENE III.

Line 281. and get thee,] Mr. Steevens suspects, that Launcelot meant get thee with child.

ACT II. SCENE V.

Line 348. I am bid forth-] I am invited. 351.

To feed upon

The prodigal Christian.] Shakspeare has made Shylock forget his resolution. In a former scene he declares he will neither eat, drink, nor pray with Christians. Of this circumstance day;

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. Line 361. then it was not for nothing that my nose fell a bleeding on Black-Monday last.] Black-Monday is a moveable

it is Easter-Monday, and was so called on this occasion : “ In the 34th of Edward III. (1360) the 14th of April, and the

morrow after Easter-day, King Edward, with his host, lay be“ fore 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. Line 380. There will come a Christian by,

Will be worth a Jewess' eye.] Ii's worth a Jew's eye, is a proverb well known.

ACT II. SCENE VI.

Line 405. 0, ten times faster Venus' pigeons fly) Lovers have in poetry been always called turtles or doces, which in lower language may be pigeons.

JOHNSON Line 415. -scarfed bark -] Means, the vessel adorned with flags, bunners, or scarfs. Line 416. -embraced by the strumpet wind !) Thus in Othello:

The bawdy wind, that kisses all it meets.” Line 456. Now, by my hood, a Gentile, and no Jew.) A jest rising from the ambiguity of Gentile, which signifies both a Heathen, and one well born.

JOHNSON.

ACT II. SCENE VII. Line 182. -as blunt;] That is, as gross as the dull metal.

JOHNSON. -533. insculp') i. e. Engrav'd.

547. Gilded tombs do worms infold.) A tomb is the proper repository of a death's-head.

JOHNSON. In the old editions, “ Gilded timber do worms infold."

Line 550. Your answer had not been inscrol'd;] Since there is an answer inscrold or written in every casket, I believe for your

mistake was easy.

Line 558.

[ocr errors]

we should read this. When the words were written y' and y', the

JOHNSON choose me so.] The old quarto edition of 1600 has no distribution of acts, but proceeds from the beginning to the end in an unbroken tenour. This play therefore having been probably divided without authority by the publishers of the first folio, lies

open to a new regulation, if any more commodious division can be proposed. The story is itself so wildly incredible, and the changes of the scene so frequent and capricious, that the probability of action does not deserve much care; yet it

may
be

proper to observe, that, by concluding the second act here, time is given for Bassanio's passage to Belmont.

JOHNSON.

ACT II, SCENE VIII,

Line 601. Slubber not- -] To slubber, is to do any thing imperfectly Line 604,

-Your

mind of love :) Your mind of love, may in this instance mean—your loving mind, or your mind which should now be intent only on love.

STEEVENS. Line 614.

embraced heaviness- -] When I thought the passage corrupted, it seemed to me not improbable that Shakspeare had written entranced heaviness, musing, abstracted, moping melancholy. But I know not why any great efforts should be made to change a word which has no uncommodious or unusual sense. We say of a man now, that he hugs his sorrows, and why might not Anthonio embrace heaviness ?

JOHNSON

ACT II. SCENE IX,
Line 635. And so have I addres'd me.] The meaning is, I have
prepared myself by the same ceremonies.

STEEVENS.
Line 647. -in the force and road of casualty.] i. e. In the
power and road, &c.
Line 663. How much low peasantry would then be glean'd

From the true seed of honour ?] The meaning is, How much meanness would be found among the great, and how much the mean.

JOHNSON. I wis,] i. e. I imagine, from the German. 691. Take what wife you will to bed,] Perhaps the poet

greatness among

Line 689.

« السابقةمتابعة »