Por. It must not be; there is no power in

Venice Can alter a decree established: 'Twill be recorded for a precedent: And many an error, by the same example, Will rush into the state ; it cannat be. Shy. A Daniel come to judgment! yea, a

Daniel! -
O wise young judge, how do I honour thee!

Por. I pray you, let me look upon the bond.
Shy. Here 'tis, most reverend doctor, here

it is.
Por. Shylock, there's thrice thy money

offer'd thee. 1
Shy. An oath, an oath, I have an oath in

heaven :
Shall I lay perjury upon my soul?
No, not for Venice.

Why, this bond is forfeit;
And lawfully by this the Jew may claim
A pound of flesh, to be by him cut off
Nearest the merchant's heart :--Be merciful ;



-there's thrice thy money offer'd thee. ] Without supposing any mistake in the terms of the offer made a little while before by Bassanio, Portia has ground enough for that of thrice the money in this place, from what he added afterwards, viz.

“ I will be bound to pay it ten times o’er,” &c. and of this the Jew, a little farther on, very pro. perly takes advantage. CAPELL.

Take thrice the money ; bid me tear the

bond. Shy. When it is paid according to the

It doth appear, you are a worthy judge ;
You know the law, your exposition
Hath been most sound : I charge you by the

Whereof you are a well-deserving pillar,
Proceed to judgment : by my soul I swear,
There is no power in the tongue of man
To alter me: I stay here on my bond.

Anth. Most heartily I do beseech the court To give the judgment.

Why then, thus it is : You must prepare your bosom for his knife. Shy. O noble judge! O excellent young

man ! Por. For the intent and purpose of the law2 Hath full relation to the penalty, Which here appeareth due upon the bond. Shy. 'Tis very true: O wise and upright

judge! How much more elder art thou than thy looks!



2 For the intent and purpose of the law, &c.] The intention and meaning of the law, framed for the determination of similar cases, is clearly applicable to, and strongly in favour of Shylock's right to exact the penalty. E.

Por. Therefore, lay bare your bosom.

Shy. Ay, bis breast : So says the bond ;-Doth it not, noble

judge ? Nearest his heart, those are the very words. Por. It is so. Are there balance here, to

weigh The flesh?

Shy. I have them ready.
Por. Have by some surgeon, Shylock, on

your charge,4 To stop his wounds, lest he do bleed to death.

Shy. Is it so nominated in the bond ?
Por. It is not so express’d; But what of

'Twere good, you do so much for charity.

Shy. I cannot find it; 'tis not in the bond. Por. Come, merchant, have you any thing

to say? Anth. But little ; I am arm'd and well pre



3 Are there balance here, to weigh the flesh ?} It may be worth inquiring whether balance can, with grammatical propriety, be used in the plural number. In some modern editions the line stands thus :“ It is so. Are there scales to weigh the flesh?"

E, 4 Have by some surgeon, Shylock, on your charge,} Let some surgeon be present by your command ; or, more probably, perhaps,--at your expence. E,

Give me your hand, Bassanio ; fare you well! Grieve not that I am fallen to this for

you; For herein fortune shews herself more kind Than is her custom : it is still her use, To let the wretched man out-live his wealth, To view with hollow eye, and wrinkled brow, An age of poverty ;

from which lingering penance Of such a misery doth she cut me off. Commend me to your honourable wife: Tell her the process of Anthonio's end ; Say, how I lov'd you; speak me fair in death; And, when the tale is told, bid her be judge, Whether Bassanio had not once a love. Repent not you that you shall lose your friend, And he repents not that he pays your debt; For, if the Jew do cut but deep enough, I'll pay it instantly with all my heart.5

Bass. Anthonio, I am married to a wife, Which is as dear to me as life itself ; But life itself, my wife, and all the world, Are not with me esteem'd above thy life : I would lose all, ay, sacrifice them all Here to this devil, to deliver you. Por. Your wife would give you little thanks for that,


5 I'll pay it instantly with all my heart.] It is a pity this fine speech should be disgraced by the quibble in the last expression. Mrs. Griffith.

f 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 Intreat 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 6 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; Mή τέτον, αλλά τον Βαραββάν, ήν de o Bagabfãs anotus ; but Shakspeare seems to have followed the pronunciation usual to the theatre, Barrabbas being sounded Barabas throughout Marlow's Jew of Malta. Our poet might otherwise have written :

« Would any of Barabbas' stock had been
Her husband, rather than a Christian !”

STEEVENS. 7 We trifle time ; &c.] These words seem to betray a consciousness in the poet that he had a little wandered from the tó apérov of character, in the several preceding reflections that begin with that expressed by Bassanio : but the expediency of throwing into his dialogue something that should enliven it just at that time, was the occasion of this


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