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Enter BASSANIO, LORENZO, and GRATIANO. Salan. Here comes Bassanio, your most noble
kinsman, Gratiano, and Lorenzo: Fare you well; We leave you now with better company.
Salar. I would have staid till I had made you merry, If worthier friends had not prevented me.
Ant. Your worth is very dear in my regard.
Salar. Good morrow, my good lords.
Say, when ?
[E.reunt SALAR. and SALAN, Lor. My lord Bassanio, since you have found
Antonio, We two will leave you: but, at dinner-time, .I pray you, have in mind where we must meet.
Bass. I will not fail you.
Gra. You look not well, signior Antonio; You have too much respect upon the world: They lose it, that do buy it with much care. Believe me, you are marvellously chang'd.
Ant. I hold the world but as the world, Gratiano; A stage, where every man must play a part, And mine a sad one. Gra.
Let me play the fool: With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come; And let my liver rather heat with wine, Than my heart cool with mortifying groans. Why should a man, whose blood is warm within, Sit like his grandsire cut in alabaster? Sleep when he wakes ? and creep into the jaundice By being peevisk? I tell thee what, Antonio, I love thee, and it is my love that speaks;There are a sort of men, whose visages Do cream and mantle, like a standing pond; Vol. III.
And do a wilful3 stillness entertain,
Lor. Well, we will leave you then till dinner-time: I must be one of these same dumb wise men, For Gratiano never lets me speak.
Gra. Well, keep me company but two years more, Thou shalt not know the sound of thine own tongue. Ant. Farewell: I'll grow a talker for this geart.. Gra. Thanks, i'faith; for silence is only com
mendable In a neat's tongue dried, and a maid not vendible.
[Ereunt Gru. and LOR. Ant. Is that any thing now? Báss. Gratiano speaks an infinite deal of nothing, more than any man in all Venice: His reasons are as two grains of wheat hid in two bushels of chaff; you shall seek all day cak you find them; and, when you have them, they are not worth the search.
Ant. Well; tell me now, what lady is this same To whom you swore a secret pilgrimage, That you to-day promis'd to tell me of?
3 i. e. an obstinate silence.
4 Gear usually signifies matter, subject, or business in general. It is here, perhaps, à colloquial expression of no very determined import. It occurs again in this play, Act ii. Sc. 2: 'If Fortune be a woman, she's a good weach for this gear.'
Bass. 'Tis not unknown to you, Antonio,
It means would grant continuance :
Ant. I pray you, good Bassanio, let me know it;
Bass. In my school-days, when I had lost one shaft, I shot his fellow of the selfsame flight The selfsame way, with more advised watch, To find the other forth; and, by advent'ring both, I oft found both: I urge this childhood proof, Because what follows is pure innocence. I owe you much; and, like a wilful youth, That which I owe is lost: but if you please To shoot another arrow that self way Which you did shoot the first, I do not doubt, As I will watch the aim, or to find both, Or bring your latter hazard back again, And thankfully rest debtor for the first. Ant. You know me, well; and herein spend but
time, To wind about my love with circumstance;
5 Port is state or equipage. So in The Taming of a Shrew, Act i. Sc. 1.
"Thou shalt be master, Tranio, in my stead,
Keep house, and port, and servants, as I should." 6. This method of finding a lost arrow is prescribed by P. Crescentius in his treatise Þe Agricultura, lib. *. c. XIviii. and is also mentioned in Howel's Letters, vol. i. p. 183, edit. 1055, 12mo. ? Prest, that is, ready; from the old French word of the same orthography, now pret.
And, out of doubt, you do me now more wrong,
Bass. In Belmont is a lady richly left,
Ant. Thou know'st, that all my fortunes are at sea; Neither have I money,, nor commodity To raise a present sum: therefore go forth, Try what my credit can in Venice do; That shall be rack'd, even to the uttermost, To furnish thee to Belmont, to fair Portia. Go, presently inquire, and so will I, Where money is; and I no question make, To have it of my trust, or for my sake. [Ereunt.
SCENE 11. ny sa
Belmont. A Room in Portia's House.
Enter PORTIA and NERISSA. Por. By my troth, Nerissa, my little body is aweary of this great world.
Ner. You would be, sweet madam, if your miseries were in the same abundance tunes are: And yet, for/aught I see, they are as sick, that surfeit with too much, as they that starve with nothing: It is no mean happiness therefore, to be seated in the mean; superfluity comes sooner by white hairst, but competency lives longer. Por. Good sentences, and well pronounced. Ner. They would be better if well followed.
Por. If to do were as easy as to know what were good to do, chapels had been churches, and poor men’s cottages princes' palaces. It is a good divine that follows his own instructions : I can easier teach twenty what were good to be done, than be one of the twenty to follow mine own teaching. The brain
may devise laws for the blood; but a hot temper leaps over a cold decree; such a hare is madness, the youth, to skip o'er the meshes of good counsel the cripple. But this reasoning is not in the fashion to choose me a husband : 40 me, the word choose! I may neither choose whom I would, nor refuse whom I dislike; so is the will of a living daughter curb'd by the will of a dead father: Is it not hard, Nerissa, that I cannot choose one, nor refuse none ?
Ner. Your father was ever virtuous; and holy men, at their death, have good inspirations; therefore, the lottery, that he hath devised in these three chests, of gold, silver, and lead (whereof who chooses his meaning, -chooses you), will, no doubt, never be chosen by any rightly, but one who
you shall rightly love. But what warmth is there in your affection towards any of these princely suitors that are already come ? Por. I pray thee over-name them: and as thou namest them, I will describe them; and, according to my description level at my affection.
1 i. e. superfluity Booner acquires wbite hairs; becomes old. We still say, how did he come by it?