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And let us make incision 1 for your love,
prove whose blood is reddest, his, or mine.
Por. In terms of choice I am not solely led
affection. Mor. Even for that I thank
you; Therefore, I pray you, lead me to the caskets, To try my fortune. By this scimitar,That slew the Sophy, and a Persian prince, That won three fields of Sultan Solyman, I would out-stare the sternest eyes that look, Out-brave the heart most daring on the earth, Pluck the young suckling cubs from the she bear,
1 To understand how the tawny prince, whose savage dignity is well supported, means to recommend himself by this challenge, it must be remembered that red blood is a traditionary sign of courage. Thus, Macbeth calls one of his frighted soldiers, a lily-liver'd boy; again in this play, cowards are said to have livers as white as milk; and an effeminate man is termed a milksop.
It was customary in the east for lovers to testify the violence of their passion by cutting themselves in the sight of their mistresses; and the fashion seems to have been adopted here as a mark of gallantry in Shakspeare's time, when young men frequently stabbed their arms with daggers, and, mingling the blood with wine, drank it off to the healths of their mistresses.
2 i. e. terrified.
Yea, mock the lion when he roars for prey,
You must take
your chance; And either not attempt to choose at all,
before you choose,-if you choose wrong, Never to speak to lady afterward In way of marriage; therefore be advis'd 3.
Mor. Nor will not; come, bring me unto my chance.
Por. First, forward to the temple; after dinner Your hazard shall be made. Mor.
Good fortune then! (Cornets. To make me blest, or cursed’st among men. (Exeunt.
SCENE II. Venice. A Street.
Enter LAUNCELOT GOBBO?. Laun. Certainly my conscience will serve me to run from this Jew, my master: The fiend is at mine elbow; and tempts me, saying to me, Gobbo, Launcelot Gobbo, good Launcelot, or good Gobbo, or good Launcelot Gobbo, use your legs, take the start, run away: My conscience says,-no; take heed, honest Launcelot; take heed, honest Gobbo; or, as afore
3 i.e. be considerate: advised is the word opposite to rash. So in Richard III.
- who in my wrath Kneelid at my feet, and bade me be advis'd.' | The old copies read-Enter the Clown alone; and throughout the play this, character is called the Clown at most of his entrances or exits.
said, honest Launcelot Gobbo; do not run; scorn running with thy heels?: Well, the most courageous fiend bids me pack; via! says the fiend; away! says the fiend, for the heavens 3 ; rouse up a brave mind, says the fiend, and run. Well, my conscience, hanging about the neck of my heart, says very wisely to me,—my honest friend Launcelot, being an honest man's son,-or rather an honest woman's son; for, indeed, my father did something smack, something grow to, he had a kind of taste ;-well, my conscience says, Launcelot, budge not ; budge, says the fiend; budge not, says my conscience: Conscience, say I, you counsel well; fiend, say I, you counsel well: to be ruled by my conscience, I should stay with the Jew my master, who, (God bless the mark !) is a kind of devil; and, to run away from the Jew, I should be ruled by the fiend, who, saving your reverence, is the devil himself: Certainly, the Jew is the
very devil incarnation; and, in my conscience, my conscience is but a kind of hard conscience, to offer to counsel me to stay with the Jew: The fiend gives the more friendly counsel: I will run, fiend; my heels are at your commandment, I will run.
? • Scorn running with thy heels. Mr. Steevens calls this absurdity, and introduces a brother critic, Sir Hugh Evans, to prove it. He inclines to the emendation of an arch-botcher of Shakspeare's text, who has proposed that we should read 'withe thy heels,' i.e. “bind them. The poet's own authority ought to have taught Steevens better. In Much Ado about Nothing, we have 0 illegitimate construction! I scorn that with my heels.' It was merely a figurative but familiar phrase for scorning any thing indignantly. Thus in Sam Rowland's Epigrams, a drunkard says:
• Bid me go sleepe? I scorn it with 3 For the heavens was merely a petty oath. To make the fiend conjure Launcelot to do a thing for heaven's sake is a specimen of that “ acute nonsense' which Barrow makes one of the species of wit, and which Shakspeare was sometimes very fond of.
Enter old GOBBO“, with a Basket. Gob. Master, young man, you, I pray you; which is the way to master Jew's ?
Laun. (Aside.] O heavens, this is my true begotten father! who, being more than sand-blind 5, high-gravel blind, knows me not:—I will try conclusions 6 with him.
Gob. Master young gentleman, I pray you, which is the way to master Jew's ?
Laun. Turn up on your right hand, at the next turning, but, at the next turning of all, on your left; marry, at the very next turning, turn of no hand, but turn down indirectly to the Jew's house. Gob. By God's sonties?, 'twill be a hard way
to hit. Can you tell me whether one Launcelot, that dwells with him, dwell with him, or no? Laun. Talk
young master Launcelot?Mark me now ; [aside.] now will I raise the waters:- Talk
young master Launcelot? Gob. No master, sir, but a poor man's son: his father, though I say it, is an honest exceeding poor man, and, God be thanked, well to live.
Laun. Well, let his father be what he will, we talk of young master Launcelot.
4 It has been inferred from the name of Gobbo, that Shakspeare designed this character to be represented with a humpback.
5. Sand-blind. Having an imperfect sight, as if there was sand
in the eye Myops.'-Holyoke's Dictionary. 6 To try conclusions, was to put to the proof, in other words to try experiments.
? God's sonties was probably a corruption of God's saints, in old language saunctes: santé and sanctity have been proposed but apparently with less probability. Oaths of this kind are not unfrequent among our ancient writers. To avoid the crime of profane swearing, they sought to disguise the words by abbreviations, which ultimately lost even their similarity to the original phrase.
Gob. Your worship's friend, and Launcelot, sir.
Laun. But I pray you ergo, old man, ergo, I beseech you; Talk you of young master Launcelot?
Gob. Of Launcelot, an't please your mastership.
Laun. Ergo, master Launcelot; talk not of master Launcelot, father; for the young gentleman (according to fates and destinies, and such odd sayings, the sisters three, and such branches of learning) is, indeed, deceased; or, as you would say, in plain terms, gone to heaven.
Gob. Marry, God forbid ! the boy was the very staff of my age, my very prop.
Laun. Do I look like a cudgel, or a hovel-post, a staff, or a prop
father? Gob. Alack the day, I know you not, young gentleman : but, I pray you, tell me, is my boy (God rest his soul!) alive, or dead?
Laun. Do you not know me, father?
not. Laun. Nay, indeed, if you had your eyes, you might fail of the knowing me: it is a wise father, that knows his own child. Well, old man, I will tell
your son: Give me your blessing: truth will come to light; murder cannot be hid long, å man's son may; but, in the end, truth will out.
Gob. Pray you, sir, stand up; I am sure, you are not Launcelot, my boy.
Laun. Pray you, let's have no more fooling about it, but give me your blessing; I am Launcelot, your boy that was, your son that is, your child that shall be.
Gob. I cannot think you are my son.
Laun. I know not what I shall think of that: but I am Launcelot, the Jew's man; and, I am sure, Margery, your wife, is my mother.
Gob. Her name is Margery, indeed: I'll be sworn, if thou be Launcelot, thou art mine own flesh and
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