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The motions of his spirit are dull as night,
Enter Portia and NERISSA, at a distance.
Ner. It is your musick, madam, of the house.
Por. Nothing is good, I see, without respect; Methinks, it sounds much sweeter than by day.
Ner. Silence bestows that virtue on it, madam. Por. The crow doth sing as sweetly as the lark, When neither is attended; and, I think, The nightingale, if she should sing by day, When every goose is cackling, would be thought No better a musician than the wren. How many things by season season'd are To their right praise, and true perfection! Peace, hoa! the moon sleeps with Endymion, And would not be awak'd!
[Musick ceases. Lor.
That is the voice, Or I am much deceiv’d, of Portia. Por. He knows me, as the blind man knows the
cuckoo, By the bad voice. Lor.
Dear lady, welcome home.
1_without respect;] Not absolutely good, but relatively good as it is modified by circumstances.
Por. We have been praying for our husbands'
Madam, they are not yet;
Go in, Nerissa,
A tucket' sounds. Lor. Your husband is at hand, I hear his trumpet: We are no tell-tales, madam; fear you not. Por. This night, methinks, is but the daylight
sick, It looks a little paler; 'tis a day, Such as the day is when the sun is hid. Enter BASSANIO, ANTONIO, GRATIANO, and their
Followers. Bass. We should hold day with the Antipodes, If you would walk in absence of the sun.
Por. Let me give light, but let me not be light; For a light wife doth make a heavy husband, And never be Bassanio so for me; But God sort all !--You are welcome home, my lord. Bass. I thank you, madam: give welcome to my For, as I hear, he was much bound for you. .
friend:This is the man, this is Antonio, To whom I am so infinitely bound. Por. You should in all sense be much bound to
8 A tucket-] Toccuta, Ital. a flourish on a trumpet.
9 Let me give light, &c.] There is scarcely any word with which Shakspeare so much delights to trifle as with light, in its various significations. JOHNSON
Ant. No more than I am well acquitted of.
Por. Sir, you are very welcome to our house: It must appear in other ways than words, Therefore, I scant this breathing courtesy."
[GRATIANO and NERISSA seem to talk apart. Gra. By yonder moon, I swear, you do me wrong; In faith, I gave it to the judge's clerk: Would he were gelt that had it, for my part, Since you do take it, love, so much at heart.
Por. A quarrel, ho, already? what's the matter?
Gra. About a hoop of gold, a paltry ring
Ner. What talk you of the posy, or the value?
Gra. He will, an if he live to be a man.
Gra. Now, by this hand, I gave it to a youth,-
this breathing courtesy.) This verbal complimentary form, made up only of breath, i. e. words.
like cutler's poetry-] Knives, as Sir J. Hawkins observes, were formerly inscribed, by means of aqua fortis, with short sentences in distich,
To part so slightly with your wife's first gift;
Bass. Why, I were best to cut my left hand off, And swear, I lost the ring defending it. [Aside. Gra. My lord Bassanio
gave his ring away Unto the judge that begg'd it, and, indeed, Deserv’d it too; and then the boy, his clerk, That took some pains in writing, he begg'd mine: And neither man, nor master, would take aught But the two rings. Por.
What ring gave you, my lord? Not that, I hope, which you receiv'd of me.
Bass. If I could add a lie untò a fault, I would deny it; but you see, my finger Hath not the ring upon it, it is gone.
Por. Even so void is your false heart of truth. By heaven, I will ne'er come in
bed Until I see the ring. Ner.
Nor I in
yours, Till I again see mine. Bass.
Sweet Portia, · If you did know to whom I gave the ring, If you
did know for whom I gave the ring, And would conceive for what I
Por. If you had known the virtue of the ring,
your own honour to contain the ring,
you had pleas’d to have defended it
Bass. No, by mine honour, madam, by my soul;
up Of my
dear friend. What should I say, sweet lady? I was enforc'd to send it after him; I was beset with shame and courtesy; My honour would not let ingratitude So much besmear it: Pardon me, good lady; For, by these blessed candles of the night, Had you been there, I think, you would have begg'd The ring of me to give the worthy doctor. Por. Let not that doctor e'er come near my
house: Since he hath got the jewel that I lov'd, And that which you did swear to keep for me, I will become as liberal as you; I'll not deny him any thing I have, No, not my body, nor my husband's bed: Know him I shall, I am well sure of it: Lie not a night from home; watch me, like Argus: If you do not, if I be left alone, Now, by mine honour, which is yet my own, I'll have that doctor for my bedfellow.
Ner. And I his clerk; therefore be well advis'd, How you do leave me to mine own protection.
Gra. Well, do you so: let not me take him then; For, if I do, I'll mar the young clerk's pen.