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Commend me to your honourable wife :
Bass. Antonio, I am married to a wife,
that, If she were by, to hear you make the offer.
Gra. I have a wife, whom, I protest, I love; I would she were in heaven, so she could Entreat some power to change this currish Jew.
NER. 'Tis well you offer it behind her back; The wish would make else an unquiet house. Shy. These be the christian husbands : I have a
daughter; 'Would, any of the stock of Barrabas Had been her husband, rather than a Christian !
[ Aside. We trifle time; I pray thee, pursue sentence.
the stock of BARRABAS-] The name of this robber is differently spelt as well as accented in The New Testament; [MÀ τέτον, αλλα τον Βαρανάν: ήν δε ο Βαραβεας ληστής ;] but Shakespeare seems to have followed the pronunciation usual to the theatre, Barabbas being sounded Barabas throughout Marlowe's Jew of Malta. Our poet might otherwise have written : “Would any of Barabbas' stock had been
isband, rather than a Christian !” Steevens.
Por. A pound of that same merchant's flesh is
Shy. Most rightful judge !
breast; The law allows it, and the court awards it. Shy. Most learned judge !-A sentence; come,
prepare. Por. Tarry a little ;-—there is something else.This bond doth give thee here no jot of blood ; The words expressly are, a pound of flesh: Take then thy bond, take thou thy pound of flesh; But, in the cutting it, if thou dost shed One drop of Christian blood, thy lands and goods Are, by the laws of Venice, confiscate Unto the state of Venice. Gra. O upright judge !-Mark, Jew ;-0 learned
judge! Shy. Is that the law ? Por.
Thyself shalt see the act : For, as thou urgest justice, be assurd; Thou shalt have justice, more than thou desir'st. Gra. O learned judge !-Mark, Jew ;-a learned
judge! Shy. I take this offer then?; pay the bond thrice, And let the Christian go. Bass.
Here is the money. Por. Soft ;
2 I take this offer then ;] Perhaps we should read-his; i. e. Bassanio's, who offers twice the sum, &c. STEEVENS.
This offer is right. Shylock specifies the offer he means, which is, “ to have the bond paid thrice.” M. Mason.
He means, I think, to say, “ I take this offer that has been made me.” Bassanio had offer'd at first but twice the sum, but Portia had gone further—" Shyloch, there's thrice thy money,” &c. The Jew naturally insists on the larger sum. MALONE.
The Jew shall have all justice ;-soft!-no haste ;He shall have nothing but the penalty.
GRA. O Jew! an upright judge, a learned judge! Por. Therefore, prepare thee to cut off the
flesh Shed thou no blood ; nor cut thou less, nor more, But just a pound of flesh: if thou tak'st more, Or less, than a just pound, -be it but so much As makes it light, or heavy, in the substance, Or the division of the twentieth part Of one poor scruple; nay, if the scale do turn But in the estimation of a hair,Thou diest, and all thy goods are confiscate.
Gra. A second Daniel, a Daniel, Jew! Now, infidel, I have thee on the hip. Por. Why doth the Jew pause ? take thy for
feiture. Shy. Give me my principal, and let me go. Bass. I have it ready for thee; here it is.
3 Therefore, prepare thee to cut off the flesh.] This judgment is related by Gracian, the celebrated Spanish jesuit, in his Hero, with a reflection at the conclusion of it: “ -Compite con la del Salomon la promptitud de aquel gran Turco. Pretendia un Judio cortar una onza de carne a un Christiano, pena sobre usura. Insistia en ello con igual terqueria a su Principe, que perfidia a su Dios. Mando
gran Juez traer peso, y cuchillo ; conminole el deguello si cortava mas ni menos. Y fue dar agudo corte a la lid, y al mundo milagro del ingenio. El Heroe de Lorenzo Gracian. Primor. 3. Thus rendered by Sir John Skeffington, 1652:
“ The vivacity of that great Turke enters in competition with that of Solomon : a Jew pretended to cut an ounce of the flesh of a Christian upon a penalty of usury; he urged it to the Prince, with as much obstinacy, as perfidiousness towards God. The great Judge commanded a pair of scales to be brought, threatening the Jew with death if he cut either more or less : And this was to give a sharp decision to a malicious process, and to the world a miracle of subtilty.” The Heroe, p. 24, &c.
Gregorio Leti, in his Life of Sixtus V. has a similar story. The papacy of Sixtus began in 1583. He died Aug. 29, 1590. The reader will find an extract from Farneworth's translation, at the conclusion of the play. STEEVENS.
Por. He hath refus'd it in the open court; He shall have merely justice, and his bond.
GRA. A Daniel, still say I; a second Daniel ;I thank thee, Jew, for teaching me that word.
Shy. Shall I not have barely my principal ?
Por. Thou shalt have nothing but the forfeiture To be so taken at thy peril, Jew.
Shy. Why then the devil give him good of it! I'll stay no longer question. Por.
Tarry, Jew; The law hath yet another hold on you. It is enacted in the laws of Venice, If it be prov'd against an alien, That by direct, or indirect attempts, He seek the life of any citizen, The party, 'gainst the which he doth contrive, Shall seize one half his goods: the other half Comes to the privy coffer of the state ; And the offender's life lies in the mercy Of the duke only, 'gainst all other voice. In which predicament, I say, thou stand'st: For it appears by manifest proceeding, That, indirectly, and directly too, Thou hast contriv'd against the very life Of the defendant; and thou hast incurr'd The danger formerly by me rehears'd. Down, therefore, and beg mercy of the duke. Gra. Beg, that thou may'st have leave to hang
* Quarto R. on.
Which humbleness may drive unto a fine.
Por. Ay, for the state * ; not for Antonio.
Shy. Nay, take my life and all, pardon not that: You take my house, when you do take the prop That doth sustain my house; you take my life, When you do take the means whereby I live.
Por. What mercy can you render him, Antonio? Gra. A halter gratis; nothing else; for God's sake. Ant. So please my lord the duke, and all the
court, To quit the fine for one half of his goods; I am content', so he will let me have The other half in use,-to render it, Upon his death, unto the gentleman That lately stole his daughter: Two things provided more,—That, for this favour, He presently become a Christian ; The other, that he do record a gift, Here in the court, of all he dies possess'd, Unto his son Lorenzo, and his daughter.
Duke. He shall do this ; or else I do recant The pardon, that I late pronounced here.
+ Ay, for the state ; &c.] That is, the state's moiety may be commuted for a fine, but not Antonio's. Malone.
s I am content,] The terms proposed have been misunderstood. Antonio declares, that as the duke quits one half of the forfeiture, he is likewise content to abate his claim, and desires not the property but the use or produce only of the half, and that only for the Jew's life, unless we read, as perhaps is right, upon my death.
JOHNSON. Antonio tells the duke, that if he will abate the fine for the state's half, he (Antonio) will be contented to take the other, in trust, after Shylock's death, to render it to his daughter's husband. That is, it was, during Shylock's life, to remain at interest in Antonio's hands, and Shylock was to enjoy the produce of it.
Ritson. Antonio's offer is, “ that he will quit the fine for one half of his fortune, provided that he will let him have it at interest during the Jew's life, to render on his death to Lorenzo.” That is the meaning of the words to let me have in use. M. Mason. VOL, V.