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feek all day ere you find them, and when you have
Anth. Well; tell me now' what lady is the fame,
Baf. 'Tis not unknown to you, Anthonio,
Anth. I pray you, good Baffanio, let me know it;
Baff. In my fchool-days, when I had loft one shaft,
Anth. You know me well, and herein spend but time,
Than if you had made waste of all I have.
Bal. In Belmont is a lady richly left,
Anth. Thou know'ft, that all my fortunes are at sea,
(2) fometimes from her Eyes.] So all the Editions; but it certainly ought to be, fometime, (which differs much more in Significa tion, than feems at first View:) i. e. formerly, fome time ago, at a certain time and it appears by the fubfequent Scene, that Baffanio was at Belmont with the Marquifs de Mountferrat, and faw Portia in her Father's life-time. And our Author, in feveral other Places uses the Word, in fuch Acceptation. King Richard II.
Good fometime Queen, prepare thee hence for France. And again, in the fame Play;
With much ado at length have gotten Leave
Therefore our fometime Sifter, now our Queen ;
SCENE changes to BELMONT.
Three Caskets are fet out, one of gold, another of filver, and another of lead.
Enter Portia and Neriffa.
Y my troth, Neriffa, my little body is weary of this great world.
Ner. You would be, fweet madam, if your miseries were in the fame abundance as your good fortunes are; and yet, for ought I fee, they are as fick, that furfeit with too much, as they that ftarve with nothing; therefore it is no mean happiness to be feated in the mean; fuperfluity comes fooner by white hairs, but competency lives longer.
Por. Good fentences, and well pronounc'd.
Por. If to do, were as eafie as to know what were good to do, chappels had been churches; and poor mens cottages, Princes palaces. He is a good divine, that follows his own inftructions; I can easier teach twenty (3) what were good to be done, than to be one of the twenty to follow my own teaching. The brain may devise laws for the blood, but a hot temper leaps o'er a cold decree; fuch a hare is madness the youth, to skip o'er the meshes of good counfel the cripple! But this reafoning is not in fashion to chufe me a husband: O me, the word, chufe! I may neither chufe whom I would, nor refuse whom I diflike; fo is the
(3) I can eafier teach twenty] This Reflection of Portia has very much the Caft of one in Philemon, the Greek Comic Poet, and Contemporary with Menander.
̓́Αλλῳ πονῖν]ι ῥάδιον παραινέσαι
Ἔσιν, ποιῆσαι δ ̓ αὐτὸν καὶ ῥᾴδιον.
It is eafy to advise Another under a Difficulty; not so easy to follow what One is able to advife. I dare not pretend, therefore, that our Author imitated this Sentiment; for in moral Axioms, particularly, allowing an Equality of Genius, Writers of all Times and Countries may happen to ftrike out the fame Thought.
will of a living daughter curb'd by the will of a dead father is it not hard, Neriffa, that I cannot chuse one, nor refuse none?
Ner. Your father was ever virtuous, and holy men at their death have good infpirations; therefore, the lottery, that he hath devifed in these three chefts of gold, filver, and lead, (whereof who chufes his meaning, chufes you) will no doubt never be chofen by any rightly, but one whom you fhall rightly love. But what warmth is there in your affection towards any of these princely futors, that are already come?
Por. I pray thee, over-name them; and as thou nam'ft them, I will defcribe them; and according to my defcription, level at my affection.
Ner. First, there is the Neapolitan Prince,
Por. Ay, that's a Dolt, indeed, for he doth nothing but talk of his horse; (4) and he makes it a great appropriation to his own good parts, that he can fhoe him himself; I am much afraid, my lady, his mother, play'd falfe with a smith.
Ner. Then, there is the Count Palatine.
Por. He doth nothing but frown, as who should fay, if you will not have me, chufe: he hears merry tales, and fmiles not; I fear, he will prove the weeping philofopher when he grows old, being fo full of unmannerly fadness in his youth. I had rather be married to a death's head with a bone in his mouth, than to cither of these. God defend me from these two!
(4) Ay, that's a Colt, indeed, for he doth nothing but talk of his horfe ;] Tho' all the Editions agree in this Reading, I can perceive neither Humour, nor Reasoning, in it: How does talking of Horses, or knowing how to fhoe them, make a Man e'er the more a Colt? Or, if a Smith and a Lady of Figure were to have an Affair together, would a Colt be the Iffue of their Careffes? This feems to me to be Portia's Meaning. What do you tell me of the Neapolitan Prince? he is fuch a fupid Dunce, that infiead of faying fine things to me, he does Nothing but talk of his Horfes. The Word, Dolt, which I have fubftituted, fully anfwers this Idea; and fignifies one of the most ftupid and blockish of the Vulgar: and in this Acceptation it is used by our Author, particularly, in the following Paffage of Othello.
Ob, Gull! ob, Dolt!
Ner. How fay you by the French Lord, Monfieur Le Boun ?
Por. God made him, and therefore let him pass for in truth, I know, it is a fin to be a mocker; but he! why, he hath a horse better than the Neapolitan's; a better bad habit of frowning than the Count Palatine; he is every man in no man; if a throftle fing, he falls ftrait a capering; he will fence with his own fhadow; if I fhould marry him, I fhould marry twenty husbands. If he would defpife me, I would forgive him; for if he love me to madness, I fhall never requite him.
Ner. What fay you then to Faulconbridge, the young Baron of England?
Por. You know, I fay nothing to him, for he underftands hot me, nor I him; he hath neither Latin, French, nor Italian; and you may come into the court and fwear, that I have a poor pennyworth in the Englife. He is a proper man's picture, but alas! who can converfe with a dumb fhow? how odly he is fuited! I think, he bought his doublet in Italy, his round hofe in France, his bonnet in Germany, and his behaviour every where.
Ner. What think you of the Scottish lord, his neighbour? (5)
Por. That he hath a neighbourly charity in him; for he borrow'd a box of the ear of the Englishman, and fwore he would pay him again, when he was able. I think, the Frenchman became his furety, and fealed under for another. (6)
of the Scottish Lord, his Neighbour?] Thus the old 4to's, and thus the Poet certainly wrote. Mr. Pope takes notice of a various Reading; (viz. What think you of the other Lord which is in the firft Folio;) but has not accounted for the Reafon of it, which was This. Our Author exhibited this Play in the Reign of Queen Elizabeth, when there was no Occafion for any Reftraint in fatirizing the Scotch. But upon the Acceffion of King James the First, the Union taking Place, and the Court fwarming with People of that Nation, the Players, thro' a Fear of giving Difguft, thought fit to make this Change.
(6) I think, the Frenchman became his Surety, and feal'd under for another] This was a fevere Sarcasm on the French Nation; and, no