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Ner. Then, is there the county * Palatine.
Por. He doth nothing but frown; as who should say, An if you will not have me, choose: he hears merry tales, and smiles not: I fear, he will prove the weeping philosopher when he grows old, being so full of unmannerly sadness in his youth. I had rather be married to a death's head with a bone in his mouth, than to either of these. God defend me from these two !
Ner. How say you by the French lord, Monsieur Le Bon ?
Por. God made him, and therefore let him pass for a man.
In truth, I know it is a sin to be a mocker; But, he! why, he hath a horse better than the Neapolitan's; a better bad habit of frowning than the count Palatine: he is every man in no man: if a throstle 5 sing, he falls straight a capering; he will fence with his own shadow: If I should marry him, I should marry twenty husbands: if he would despise me, I would forgive him; for if he love me to madness, I shall never requite him.
Ner. What say you then to Faulconbridge, the young baron of England ?
Por. You know, I say nothing to him; for he understands not me, nor I him: he hath neither Latin, French, nor Italiano; and you will come into the court and swear, that I have a poor penny-worth in the English. He is a proper man's? picture; But, alas! who can converse with a dumb show? How oddly he is suited! I think, he bought his doublet in Italy, his round hose in France, his bonnet in Germany, and his behaviour every where.
4 This is an allusion to the Count Albertus Alasco, a Polish Palatine, who was in London in 1583.
5 A thrush; properly the missel-thrush. 6 A satire on the ignorance of young English travellers in Shakspeare's time.
? A proper man is a handsome man.
Ner. What think you of the Scottish lord, his neighbour?
Por. That he hath a neighbourly charity in him; for he borrowed a box of the ear of the Englishman, and swore he would pay him again, when he was able: I think, the Frenchman became his surety, and sealed under for another. Ner. How like
young German 8, the Duke of Saxony's nephew?
Por. Very vilely in the morning, when he is sober; and most vilely in the afternoon, when he is drunk: when he is best, he is a little worse than a man; and when he is worst, he is little better than a beast: an the worst fall that ever fell, I hope, I shall make shift to go without him.
Ner. If he should offer to choose, and choose the right casket, you should refuse to perform your father's will, if you should refuse to accept him.
Por. Therefore, for fear of the worst, I pray thee, set a deep glass of Rhenish 'wine on the contrary casket: for, if the devil be within, and that temptation without, I know he will choose it. I will do any thing, Nerissa, ere I will be married to a spunge.
Ner. You need not fear, lady, the having any of these lords; they have acquainted me with their determination : which is indeed, to return to their home, and to trouble you with no more suit; unless you may be won by some other sort than
father's imposition, depending on the caskets.
Por. If I live to be as old as Sibylla, I will die as chaste as Diana, unless I be obtained by the manner of
father's will; I am glad this parcel of wooers are so reasonable; for there is not one among
8 The Duke of Bavaria visited London, and was made a Knight of the Garter, in Shakspeare's time. Perhaps, in this enumeration of Portia's suitors, there may be some covert allusion to those of Queen Elizabeth.
them but I dote on his very absence, and I pray
God grant them a fair departure. Ner. Do
member, your father's time, a Venetian, a scholar, and a soldier, that came hither in company of the Marquis of Montferrat?
Por. Yes, yes, it was Bassanio; as I think, so was he called.
Ner. True, madam; he, of all the men that ever my
foolish eyes looked upon, was the best deserving a fair lady.
Por. I remember him well; and I remember him worthy of thy praise.—How now! what news?
Enter a Servant. Serv. The four strangers seek for you, madam, to take their leave: and there is a fore-runner come from a fifth, the Prince of Morocco; who brings word, the prince, his master, will be here to-night.
Por. If I could bid the fifth welcome with so good heart as I can bid the other four farewell, I should be glad of his approach: if he have the condition 9 of a saint, and the complexion of a devil, I had rather he should shrive me than wive me. Come, Nerissa.—Sirrah, go before.—Whiles we shut the gate upon one wooer, another knocks at the door.
[Exeunt. SCENE III. Venice. A public place.
Enter BASSANIO and SHYLOCK.
Antonio shall be bound.
9 i.e. the nature, disposition. So in Othello :
and then of so gentle a condition !
Shy. Antonio shall become bound,-well.
Bass. May you stead me? Will you pleasure me? Shall I know
answer? Shy. Three thousand ducats, for three months, and Antonio bound.
Bass. Your answer to that.
Shy. Ho, no, no, no, no;—my meaning, in saying he is a good man, is to have you understand me, that he is sufficient: yet his means are in supposition : he hath an argosy bound to Tripolis, another to the Indies; I understand moreover upon the Rialto, he hath a third at Mexico, a fourth for England,—and other ventures he hath, squander'd abroad: But ships are but boards, sailors but men: there be land-rats, and water-rats, water-thieves, and land-thieves; I mean, pirates; and then, there is the peril of waters, winds, and rocks: The man is, notwithstanding, sufficient;-three thousand ducats;I think, I may take his bond.
Bass. Be assured you may.
Shy. I will be assured I may; and that I may be assured, I will bethink me : May I speak with Antonio ?
Bass. If it please you to dine with us.
Shy. Yes, to smell pork; to eat of the habitation which your prophet, the Nazarite, conjured the devil into : I will buy with you, sell with you, talk with you, walk with you, and so following; but I will not eat with you,
with you. What news on the Rialto ?-Who is he comes here?
Enter ANTONIO. Bass. This is signior Antonio. Shy. [Aside.] How like a fawning publican he
Shylock, do you hear ?
1 • It is almost incredible what gain the Venetians receive by the usury of the Jews, both privately and in common. For in every city the Jews keep open shops of usury, taking gages of ordinary for xv in the hundred by the yeare ; and if at the year's end the gage be not redeemed, it is forfeit, or at least done away to a great disadvantage; by reason whereof the Jews are out of measure wealthy in those parts:— Thomas's Historye of Italye, 1561, 4to. f. 77.
2 To catch, or have, on the hip, means to have at an entire advantage. The phrase seems to have originated from hunting, because, when the animal pursued is seized upon the hip, it is finally disabled from flight. Dr. Johnson once thought the phrase was taken from the art of wrestling, but he corrected his opinion at a subsequent period, and in his Dictionary derives it from hunting. It occurs again in Othello :
• I'll have our Michael Cassio on the hip’ VOL. III.