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Lor. Goodly lord, what a wit-snapper are you! then, bid them prepare dinner.
Laun. That is done too, sir; only, cover is the word.
Lor. Yet more quarrelling with occasion ? Wilt thou show the whole wealth of thy wit in an instant? I pray thee, understand a plain man in his plain meaning: go to thy fellows, bid them cover the table, serve in the meat, and we will come in to dinner.
Laun. For the table, sir, it shall be served in; for the meat, sir, it shall be covered; for your coming in to dinner, sir, why, let it be as humours and conceits shall govern.
[Exit LAUNCELOT. Lor. O, dear discretion, how his words are suited! The fool hath planted in his memory An army of good words; and I do know A many fools, that stand in better place, Garnish'd like him, that for a tricksy word Defy the matter. How cheer'st thou, Jessica'? And now, good sweet, say thy opinion; How dost thou like the lord Bassanio's wife?
Jes. Past all expressing. It is very meet, The lord Bassanio live an upright life, For, having such a blessing in his lady, He finds the joys of heaven here on earth ; And, if on earth he do not mean it, then, In reason he should never come to heaven?. Why, if two gods should play some heavenly match,
How cheer’st thou, Jessica ?] “How farist thou, Jessica ?" Roberts's 4to. alone. ? And, if on earth he do not mean it, then,
In reason he should never come to heaven.) The old copies vary in this place. The 4to. by Roberts gives it as in our text: the 4to. by Heyes must be wrong, when it says,
• And, if on earth he do not mean it, it
In reason," &c.
“ And if on earth he do not mean it, it
Is reason, &c.
And on the wager lay two earthly women,
Even such a husband
Jes. Nay, but ask my opinion, too, of that.
Lor. No, pray thee, let it serve for table-talk;
Well, I'll set you forth. [Exeunt.
ACT IV. SCENE I.
Venice. A Court of Justice. .
Enter the DUKE; the Magnificoes ; ANTONIO, BASSANIO,
GRATIANO, SALARINO, SALANIO, and others.
Duke. I am sorry for thee: thou art come to answer
I have heard, Your grace hath ta’en great pains to qualify His rigorous course; but since he stands obdurate, And that no lawful means can carry me Out of his envy's reach*, I do oppose My patience to his fury, and am arm'd To suffer with a quietness of spirit, 3 Then, HowSOE’ER thou speak’st,] The folio and Heyes's 4to. have housome’er. The very tyranny and rage of his.
his Envy's reach,] Ency, of old, was often used in the sense of hatred.
Duke. Go one, and call the Jew into the court. Salan. He's ready at the door. He comes, my lord.
Duke. Make room, and let him stand before our face. Shylock, the world thinks, and I think so too, That thou but lead'st this fashion of thy malice To the last hour of act; and then, 'tis thought, Thou'lt show thy mercy and remorse, more strange Than is thy strange apparent cruelty; And where thou now exact'st the penalty, Which is a pound of this poor merchant's flesh, Thou wilt not only lose the forfeiture', But, touch'd with human gentleness and love, Forgive a moiety of the principal ; Glancing an eye of pity on his losses, That have of late so huddled on his back, Enow to press a royal merchant down, And pluck commiseration of his state From brassy bosoms, and rough hearts of flint, From stubborn Turks and Tartars, never train'd To offices of tender courtesy. We all expect a gentle answer, Jew.
Shy. I have possess'd your grace of what I purpose; And by our holy Sabbath have I sworn To have the due and forfeit of
5 Thou wilt not only lose the forfeiture,] The old copies have a loose the forfeiture," and perhaps we ought to take loose in the sense of release.
To have it baned ? What, are you answer'd yet?
Bass. This is no answer, thou unfeeling man,
Shy. I am not bound to please thee with my answer.
twice? Ant. I pray you, think you question with the Jew. You may as well go
the beach, And bid the main flood bate his usual height; You may as well use question with the wolf,
6 Masters of passion sway it to the mood
Of what it likes, or loaths.] This passage has occasioned a good deal of controversy, but the difficulty seems to be to find a difficulty : in the old copies “sway” is printed sways, making a false concord, the nominative case being “masters :" the pronoun “it,” of course, in both instances, agrees with “passion.” Shylock, in the preceding lines, speaks of those who are not “ masters of passion.”
7 – a woOLLEN bag-pipe,] This is the reading of every ancient copy ; and as we know that at this day the bag is usually covered with woollen, the epithet is perfectly appropriate, without adopting the alteration of Steevens to swollen.
Why he hath made the ewe bleat for the lamb$;
Bass. For thy three thousand ducats here is six.
Shy. If every ducat in six thousand ducats
bond. Duke. How shalt thou hope for mercy, rendering
none? Shy. What judgment shall I dread, doing no wrong? You have among you many a purchas'd slave, Which, like your asses, and your dogs, and mules, You use in abject and in slavish parts, Because you bought them shall I say to you, Let them be free; marry them to your heirs ?
& You may as well use question with the wolf,
Why he hath made the ewe bleat for the lamb ;] These lines afford another remarkable instance of variation in two different copies of the same edition of a play. In the 4to. by Heyes, belonging to the Duke of Devonshire, the passage runs thus :
“ Well use question with the wolf,
The ewe bleat for the lamb ;" whereas, in the copy of the same edition, the property of Lord Francis Egerton, the evident defect is supplied, and the lines stand as in our text. This change for the better must have been made while “ The Merchant of Venice," " printed by I. R., for Thomas Heyes," was going through the press. On the other hand, the editors of the folio allowed the passage to stand,
“Or even as well use question with the wolf,
The ewe bleat for the lamb ;" which, if not nonsense, is imperfect sense. Roberts’s 4to. fully confirms the words in the text, according entirely with the amended impression of Heyes.
• When they are FRETTEN – ] So both the old quartos, and there seems no reason to abandon the form of the participle, probably adopted by Shakespeare : if “fretten ” were not the original word, it is singular that it should be found in the two editions by lleyes and Roberts, evidently printed from different manuscripts.