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You use in abject and in flavish part,
Whom I have fent for to determine this,
Sal. My lord, here ftays, without,
Duke. Bring us the letters, call the meffenger.
The few hall have my flesh, blood, bones, and all,
Ant. I am a tainted weather of the flock, Meeteft for death: the weakest kind of fruit Drops earlieft to the ground, and fo let me. You cannot better be employ'd, Bassanio, Than to live ftill, and write mine epitaph.
Enter Neriffa, drefs'd like a Lawyer's Clerk.
Duke. Came you from Padua, from Bellario? (25)
(25) From both my Lord Bellario greets your Grace.] Thus the two old Folio's, and Mr. Pope in his 4to, had inaccurately pointed this Paffage, by which a Doctor of Laws was at once rais'd to the Dignity of the Peerage. I fet it right in my SHAKESPEARE reftor'd, as Mr. Pope has fince done from thence in his last Edition.
Shy. To cut the forfeit from that bankrupt there.
Thou mak'ft thy knife keen; for no metal can,
Shy. "Till thou canft rail the feal from off my bond,
(26) Not on thy Soale, but on thy Soul, harsh Jew,] I was obliged, from the Authority of the old Folio's, to reftore this Conceit, and Jingle upon two Words alike in found, but differing in Senfe. Gratiano thus rates the Jew; "Tho' thou thinkest, that thou art whetting thy Knife
on the Soale of thy Shoe, yet it is upon thy Soul, thy immortal Part, "that thou do'st it, thou inexorable Man!" There is no Room to doubt, but This was our Author's Antithefis; as it is fo ufual with him to play on Words in this manner: and That from the Mouth of his moft ferious Characters. So in Romeo and Juliet;
You have dancing Shoes,
I am too fore enpierced with his Shaft,
O, lawful let it be,
That I have room with Rome to curfe awhile!
Now is it Rome, indeed; and room enough,
But this fort of Jingle is too perpetual with our Athor to nced any far
To cureless ruin. I ftand here for law. (27)
Ner. He attendeth here hard by
To know your anfwer, whether you'll admit him.
UR Grace fall understand, that, at the receipt of your letter, I am very fick: but at the inftant that your messenger came, in loving vifitation was with me a young Doctor of Rome, his name is Balthafar: I acquainted him with the caufe in controverfie between the Jew and Anthonio the merchant. We turn'd o'er many books together: he is furnished with my opinion, which, bettered with his own learning, (the greatness whereof I cannot enough commend,) comes with him at my importunity, to fill up your Grace's request in my ftead. I beseech you, let bis lack of years be no impediment to let him lack a reverend eftimation: For I never knew so young a body with fo old a head. I leave him to your gracious acceptance, whofe trial fhall better publifh his commendation.
Enter Portia, dress'd like a Doctor of Laws.
Duke. You hear the learn'd Bellario, what he writes,
Duke. You're welcome: take your place.
(27) To careless Ruine.] This, I am fure, is a fignal Inftance of Mr. Pope's Carelessnefs, for Both the Old 4to's have it cureles. The Players in their Edition, for fome particular Whim, chang'd the Word to endlefs; which Mr. Rowe has copied, becaufe, I prefume, he had never feen the old Quarto's. Our Author has used this Epithet, cureless, again in his Poem, call'd, Tarquin and Lucrece. St. 111.
O, hatefull, vaporous and foggy Night!
Por. I am informed throughly of the cafe. Which is the merchant here? and which the Jew? Duke. Anthonio and old Shylock, both stand forth. Por. Is your name Shylock?
Shy. Shylock is my name.
Por. Of a strange nature is the fuit you follow;
You ftand within his danger, do you not? [To Anth.
Por. Do you confess the bond?
Ant. I do.
Por. Then must the Jew be merciful.
Shy. On what compulfion muft I? tell me that.
Por. Is he not able to discharge the mony?
Yea, twice the fum; if that will not fuffice,
That malice bears down truth. And I beseech you, (28)
Por. It must not be, there is no pow'r in Venice
And many an error, by the fame example,
Shy. A Daniel come to judgment! yea, a Daniel. O wife young judge, how do I honour thee!
Por. I pray you, let me look upon the bond. Shy. Here 'tis, moft rev'rend Doctor, here it is. Por. Shylock, there's thrice thy mony offer'd thee. Shy. An oath, an oath, I have an oath in heav'n. Shall I lay perjury upon my foul? No, not for Venice.
Por. Why, this bond is forfeit ;
(28) That Malice bears down truth.] I propos'd, in my SHAK ESPEARE reflor'd, to read ruth here; i. e. Compaffion, Mercy. But, upon more mature Advice, I believe, the Text needs no Alteration. Truth may mean here, Reason; the reasonable Offers of Accommodation, which we have made.