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seek all day ere you find them, and when them, they are not worth the fearch.
you have Anth, Well; tell me now' what lady is the same, That you to day promis’d to tell me off
Baj. 'Tis not unknown to you, Anthonio,
T’unburthen all my plots and purposes,
Antb. I pray you, good Bassanio, let me know it; And if it stand, as you yourself still do, Within the eye of honour; be'assurd, My purse, my person, my extreameft means Lye all unlock'd to your occasions.
Ball. In my school-days, when I had lost one shaft, I shot his fellow of the self-fame flight The self-fame way, with more adviled watch, To find the other forth; by ventring both, I oft found both. 'I' urge this child-hood proof, Because what follows is pure innocence. I owe you much, and like a wilful youth, That which I owe is loft; but if you please To shoot another arrow that self way Which you did shoot the first, I do not doubt, As I will watch the aim, or to find both; Or bring your latter hazard back again, And thankfully rest debtor for the first.
Anth. You know me well; and herein spend but time, To wind about my love with circumstance; And, out of doubt, you do me now more wrong, In making question of my uttermost,
Than if you had made waste of all I have.
Baf. In Belmont is a lady richly left,
Anth. Thou know'st, that all my fortunes are at sea,
sometimes from her Eyes.] So all the Editions ; but it certainly ought to be, sometime, (which differs much more in Signification, than frems at firft View:) i. e. formerly, some time ago, at a certain fime : and it appears by the subsequent Scene, that Bassanio was at Belmont with the Marquiss” de Mountferrat, and saw Portia in her Father's ļife-time. And our Author, in several other places uses the Word, in such Acceptation. King Richard II.
Good, Tometime Queen, prepare thee hence for France. And again, in the same Play ;
With much ado at length have gotten Leave
To look‘ripon my fometime Mafier's Face.
SCENE changes to BELMONT. Three Caskets are set out, one of gold, another of silver,
and another of lead.
Enter Portia and Neriffa. Por: B
Y my troth, Neriffa, my little body is weary
of this great world. Ner. You would be, sweet madam, if your
miseries were in the same abundance as your good fortunes are; and yet, for ought I see, they are as fick, that surfeit with too much, as they that starve with nothing s therefore it is no mean happiness to be seated in the mean ; superfluity comes sooner by white hairs, but competency lives longer.
Por. Good sentences, and well pronounc'd.
Por. If to do, were as easie 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 instructions; 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; such a hare is madness the youth, to skip o'er the meshes of good counsel the cripple! But this reasoning is not in fashion to chuse me a hus. band : O me, the word, chuse! I may neither chuse whom I would, nor refuse whom I dislike; fo is the
(3) I can eaper teach twenty) This Reflection of Portia has very much the Cast of one in Philemon, the Greek Comic Poet, and Contemporary with Menander.
'Αλλω' πονάνι ράδιον παραινέσαι
"Εσιν, ποιήσαι αυτόν έχι ραδιον. It is easy to advise Another under a Dificulty; not so easy to follow what One is able to advise. 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, Nerisa, that I cannot chuse one, nor refuse none?
Ner. Your father was ever virtuous, and holy men at their death have good inspirations; therefore, the lottery, that he hath devifed in these three chests of gold, silver, and lead, (whereof who chuses his meaning, chuses you) will'na doubt never be chosen by any rightly, but one whom you shall rightly love. But what warmth is there in your affection towards any of these princely sutors, that are already come?
Por, I pray thee, over-name them, and as thou nam'st them, I will describe them; and according to my description, 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 moe him himself: I am much afraid, my lady, his mother, play'd false with a smith.
Ner. Then, there is the Count Palatine.
Por. He doth nothing but frown, as who should say, if you
will not have me, chuse: he hears merry tales, and smiles not; I fear, he will prove the weeping philosopher when he grows old, being so full of unmannerly sadness 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 be doth nothing but talk of his horse ;] Tho' all the Editions agree in this Reading, I can perceive neither Hamour, nør Reasoning, in it: How does talking of Horses, or knowing how to shoe 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 Issue of their Caresses ? This seems to me to be Portia's Meaning. What do you tell me of the Neapolitan Prince? he is such a Jupid Dunce, that infiead of saying fire things to me, he does Nothing but talk of his Horses. The Word, Dolt, which I have substituted, fully answers this Idea ; and fignifies one of the molt ftupid and blockish of the Vulgar: and in this Acceptation it is used by our Author, particularly, in the following Passage of Othello.
Oh, Gull! oh, Dolt!
Ner. How say you by the French Lord, Monsieur Le Boun ?
Por. God made him, and therefore let him pass for á man; 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 throstle fing, he falls (trait a capering; he will fence with his own shadow; if I should marry him, I should marry twenty husbands. If he would despise me, I would forgive him ; for if he love me to madness, 1 shall never requite him.
Ner. What say you then to Faulconbridge, the young Baron of England ?
Por. You know, I say nothing to him, for he understands not me, nor I him ; he hath neither Latin, French, nor Italian; and you may come into the court and swear, that I have a poor pennyworth in the Englife. He is a proper man's picture, but alas! who can converse with a dumb show? how odly he is suited! I think; he bought his doublet in Italy, his round hose in France, his bonner in Germany, and his behaviour
Ner. What think you of the Scottis 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 swore he would pay him again, when he was able. I think, the Frenchman became his surety, and sealed under for another. (6)
Ner, (s) of the Scottish Lord, bis 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 Reason of it, which was This. Our Author exhibited this Play in the Reign of Queen Elizabeth, when there was no Occasion for any Restraint in fatirizing the Scotch. But upon the Accession of King James the First, the Union taking Place, and the Court swarming with People of that Nation, the Players, thro' a Fear of giving Disguit, thought fit to make this Change.
(6) I think, the Frenchman became his Surety, and seald under for another.] This was a severe Sarcasm on the French Nation ; and, no