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I'll not be made a foft and dull-ey'd fool,
Sola. It is the most impenetrable cur, That ever kept with men.
Ant. Let him alone,
I'll follow him no more with bootlefs pray'rs:.
Many, that have at times made moan to me;
Sola. I am fure, the Duke
Will never grant this forfeiture to hold.
Ant. The Duke cannot deny the course of law; (20) For the commodity that ftrangers have With us in Venice, if it be deny'd, Will much impeach the juftice of the ftate; Since that the trade and profit of the city Confifteth of all nations. Therefore go, These griefs and loffes have fo bated me, That Ifhall hardly fpare a pound of flesh To morrow to my bloody creditor. Well, goaler, on; pray God, Bassanio come To fee me pay his debt, and then I care not! [Exeunt.
(20) The Duke cannot deny] As this Sentence feems a little perplex'd and obfcure, it may not be amifs to give it a fhort Explanation. The "Duke cannot deny the Courfe of Law, (fays Anthonio;) for if its Course "be denied, the Privilege that Strangers have, being violated, will cry "out against the Injuftice". This is very much to the Purpofe; for he does not fay, that the Juftice of the State could indeed be impeach'd by ftopping the Courfe of Law in his Cafe: For, indeed, it was the utmoft Juftice to ftop it here: But that Strangers would accuse it of Injuftice.. This fhews the true Temper of the State of Venice, and of all other trading States; which will always more fear an Inconvenience than an Injustice. The Jealoufy, that foreign Merchants may entertain of Injuftice, being always more carefully guarded againft, than Injustice itfelf. Mr. Warburton.
SCENE changes to BELMONT.
Enter Portia, Neriffa, Lorenzo, Jeffica, and Balthazar.
Lor. MAdam, although I speak it in your presence,
You have a noble and a true
Of God-like amity; which appears most strongly
Por. I never did repent of doing good,
(21) This comes too near the praising of my felf; Therefore no more of it: here other things,
Lorenzo, I commit &c.] Thus has this Paffage been writ and pointed, but abfurdly, thro' all the Editions. Portia finding the Reflections fhe had made came too near Self-praife, begins to chide herself for it: fays, She'll fay no more of that Sort; but call a new Subject. The Regulation I have made in the Text was likewise prescrib'd by Dr. Thirl
Only attended by Neriffa here,
Lor. Madam, with all my heart;
Lor. Fair thoughts and happy hours attend on you!
As I have ever found thee honeft, true,
In fpeed to Padua ; fee thou render this (22)
Bal. Madam, I go with all convenient speed. [Exit.
(22) In fpeed to Mantua ;] Thus all the old Copies; and thus all the Modern Editors implicitly after them. But 'tis evident to any diligent Reader, that We must restore, as I have done, In Speed to Padua: For it was there, and not at Mantua, Bellario liv'd. So afterwards; A Meffenger, with Letters from the Doctor, New come from Padua And again, Came you from Padua, from Bellario?- And again, It comes from Padua, from Bellario. Befides, Padua, not Mantua, is the Place of Education for the Civil Law in Italy.
Ner. Shall they fee us?
Por. They fhall, Neriffa; but in fuch a habit,
Ner. Shall we turn to men?
Por. Fie, what a queftion's that,
Laun. Yes, truly: for, look you, the fins of the father are to be laid upon the children; therefore, I promise you, I fear you. I was always plain with you; and fo now I fpeak my agitation of the matter: therefore be of good cheer; for truly, I think, you are damn'd: there is but one hope in it that can do any good,and that is but a kind of baftardhope neither. Jef. And what hope is that, I pray thee?
Laun. Marry, you may partly hope that your father got you not, that you are not the Jew's daughter.
Jef. That were a kind of baftard hope, indeed; fa the fins of my mother should be vifited upon me,
Laun. Truly, then, I fear, you are damn'd both by father and mother; thus when you thun Scylla, (23) your father, you fall into Charybdis, your mother: well, you are gone both ways.
Jef. I fhall be faved by my husband; he hath made me a chriftian.
Laun. Truly, the more to blame he; we were chriftians enough before, e'en as many as could well live one by another: this making of chriftians will raise the price of hogs; if we grow all to be pork-eaters, we shall not shortly have a rafher on the coals for mony.
Jef. I'll tell my husband, Launcelot, what you fay: here he comes.
Lor. Ifhall grow jealous of you fhortly, Launcelot, you thus get my wife into corners.
Jef. Nay, you need not fear us, Lorenzo; Launcelot and I are out; he tells me flatly, there is no mercy for me in heav'n, because I am a Jew's daughter: and he says, you are no good member of the common-wealth; for, in converting Jews to chriftians, you raise the price of pork.
Lor. I fhall answer that better to the commonwealth, than you can the getting up of the negro's belly: the Moor is with child by you, Launcelot.
Laun. It is much, that the Moor fhould be more than
(23) Thus when you foun Scylla, your Father,] By the Allufion which Launcelot makes here, 'tis evident, Shakespeare was no Stranger to this Hexameter, nor the Application of it;
Incidit in Scyllam cupiens vitare Charybdim.
Erafmus, in his Adagies, quotes this Verse as one very much in Vogue with the Latines; but fays, he does not remember its Author. I prefume, it might have been founded upon the Greek proverbial Sentence, likewife quoted by him, Τὴν Χάρυβδιν ἐκφυγὼν τῇ Σκύλλῃ περιέπεσον. This is one of those Iambics, he tells us, which were call'd, Dimetrè anion. For my own part, (throwing out this cramp Definition) I think it might have been a plain Iambic, as most of the proverbial Gnomes were, and only difmounted from its Numbers by the unneceffary Infertion of the Articles. I would read it;
Σκύλλῃ περιέπεσον, Χάρυβδιν ἐκφυγών