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Por. Ay, but I fear you speak upon the rack,
Pass. Promise me life, and I'll confess the truth.
Confess, and love
But let me to my fortune and the caskets. 40
Por. Away, then :) I am locked in one of thein ;/
Then,) if he lose, he makes a swan-like end, 45 Fading in music :) that the comparison
May stand more proper, | my eye shall be the stream,
Even as the flourish, when true subjects bow 50 To a new-crowned monarch : | such it is, |
As are those dulcet sounds in break of day, |
With no less presence, but with much more love, | 55 Than young Alcides,] when he did redeem
The virgin tribute paid by howling Troy
With bleared visages, come forth to view
55. Than young Alcides, i.e., Hercules.
57. The allusion is to a myth of Hercules and Hesione, daughter of Laomedon, King of Troy. This myth is merely another version of that of Perseug and Andromeda.
58. Wives. This was formerly not restricted to mean a married woman, but, like the German weib, signified woman in
general ; remnants of this use are the ex. pressions fishwife, housewife. See Shakspere's Julius Cæsar, iii. 1,-"Men, wives, and children stare, cry out, and run."
59. Come forth.—The Past Partic. of an Intr. Verb without having. Cowper's Task, i. 4, note.
Live thou, | I live :1 — With much much more dismay
I view the fight, than thou] that mak’st the fray. ! Music whilst BASSANIO comments on the caskets to himself.
Or in the heart, or in the head ?
With gazing fed; and fancy dies
I'll begin it.—Ding, dong, bell.
Ding, dong, bell.
But, being season'd with a gracious voice,
Will bless it,] and approve it with a text, 70 Hiding the grossness with fair ornament ?]
There is no vice so simple, but assumes
As stayers of sand,] wear yet upon their chins 75 The beards of Hercules and frowning Mars,)
Who, inward search’d, have livers white as milk, |
And you shall see, it is purchased by the weight ; | 80 Which therein works a miracle in nature,
* Fancy is here error, illusion, not, as is generally thought, love.
74. Stayers, i.e., props.
77. Excrement.—This word comes from ex and cresco, to grow out; and was used
formerly of the hair, whiskers, nails,-anything growing out of the surface of the body. We should now say excrescence instead.
79. And you shall see.-Fut. tense. See Act 1. Scene 3, 83, note.
Making them lightest | that wear most of it : 1
Upon supposed fairness, often known 85 To be the dowry of a second head,
The skull that bred them in the sepulchre.)
Veiling an Indian beauty ; in a word,
To entrap the wisest. Therefore, thou gaudy gold,
'Tween man and man.] But thou, thou meagre lead,) 95 Which rather threatnest | than dost promise aught,]
Thy paleness moves me more than eloquence,)
Por. How all the other passions fleet to air,
As doubtful thoughts, and rash embrac'd despair, 100 And shudd'ring fear, and green-ey'd jealousy !|
O love, be moderate,] allay thy ecstasy,]
What find I here ? |
[Opening the leaden casket. 105 Fair Portia’s counterfeit ?] What demi-god
Hath come so near creation ? || Move these eyes ? |
86. This line is a Nominative Absolute.
87. Guiled.-For guiling, deceiving. The active and passive sense of the Partic. are often interchanged in Sbakspere. See iv. 1, 166, “ It is twice blessed. It blesseth him that gives, and him that takes."
beauty. A dark complexion is to be considered as incompatible with beauty.
92. Midas.-King of Phrygia, who prayed that everything he touched might turn to gold, and was starved in consequence
93. Pak and common drudge, i e., Silver.
94. But thou.--The construction changes in line 96 to the possessive form thy.
107. Whether is now obsolete in Principal Interrogative Sentences.
89. Indian.-The context shows that by Indian beauty is meant the reverse of
Seem they in motion ?! Here are sever'd lips,
Parted with sugar breath ;| so sweet a bar 110 Should sunder such sweet friends : | Here in her hairs
The painter plays the spider ;| and hath woven
How could he see to do them ? | having made one, 115 [Methinks] it should have power to steal both his,
And leave itself unfurnish'd :| Yet look] how far
Doth limp behind the substance. Here's the scroll, 120 The continent and
And claim her with a loving kiss.”
That thinks he hath done well in people's eyes, 125 Hearing applause and universal shout,
Giddy in spirit, still gazing in a doubt)
As doubtful) whether) what I see be true) 130 Until confirm’d, sign'd, ratified by you.]
110. Hairs.-The singular would be used now.
114. Having made one, must be connected logically with the Personal Pronoun involved in his in the next line, though the construc
tion is at best but loose. See Act. 11. Scene
116. Unfurnished, scil., with the other.
Por. You see, my Lord Bassanio, where I stand,
To wish myself much better ; | yet for you, 135 I would be trebled twenty times myself ;
A thousand times more fair, ten thousand times
Exceed account ; , but the full sum of me 140 Is sum of nothing ;| which, to term in gross,
Is an unlesson'd girl, unschool'd, unpractis'd :
She is not bred so dull | but she can learn ; | 145 Happiest of all, is,] that her gentle spirit
Commits itself to yours to be directed,
Is now converted :, but now I was the lord 150 Of this fair mansion, master of my servants,
Queen o'er myself ;| and even now, but now,
Which when you part from, lose,] or give away,] 155 Let it presage the ruin of your love,|
And be my vantage to exclaim on you.]
Bass. Madam, you have bereft me of all words, Only my blood speaks to you in my veins :)
And there is such confusion in my powers 160 As, after some oration, fairly spoke
By a beloved prince, there doth appear
131. Where I stand.--Alluding to “ So stand I," 128.
149. Lord, master.--See 11. 6, 52, note.
154. Sentences beginning with which ichen must be classed, not as Adj. sentences but as Adverbial.