« 上一頁繼續 »
SCENE changes to Belmont,
Three Caskets are set out, one of gold, another of silver,
and another of lead.
Enter Portia and Neriffa.
Y my troth, Nerissa, my little body is weary
miseries were in the same abundance as your good fortunes are ; and yet, for ought I see, they are as fick, that surfeit with too much, as they that starve with nothing ; therefore it is no mean happinels to be seated in the mean; superfluity comes sooner by white hairs, but competency lives longer.
Por. Good sentences, and well pronounc'd.
Por. If to do, were as easy as to know what were good to do, chapels had been churches; and poor mens cottages, Princes palaces. He is a good divine, that follows his own instructions; I can easier teach twenty (3) what were good to be done, than to be one of the twenty to follow my own teaching. The brain may, deyise laws for the blood, but a hot temper leaps o'er a cold decree ; such a hare is madness the youth, to skip. o’er the meshes of good counsel the çripple ! But this reasoning is not in fahion to chuse me a husband : O me, the word, chuse! I may neither chuse whom I would, nor refuse whom I dillike; fo is the
(3) I can easier teach twenty] This reflection of Portia has very much the cast of one in Pbilemon, the Greek comịc poet, and contemporary with Menander.
*Αλλω πονάνι εάδιον παραινέσαι
"Έγινποιήσαι δ' αυτών όχι ράδιον. It is eafy to advise anot ber under a dijñculty ; not so easy to follow what one is able to advise. I dare not pretend, therefore, that our author imitated this sentiment; for in moral axioms, particularly, allowing an equality of Genius, writers of all times and countries may happen to fisike out the same thought.
will of a living daughter curb’d by the will of a dead father : is it not hard, Nerisa, that I cannot chuse 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 chufes his meaning, chuses you) will no doubt never be chosen by any rightly, but one whom you shall rightly love. But what warmth is there in
affection towards these princely sutors, that are already come?',
Por. I pray thee, over-name them; and as thou nam'ft them, I will describe them; and according to my description, level at my affection. Ner. First, there is the Neapolitan Prince.
Por. Ay, that's a Dolt, indeed, for he doth nothing but talk of his horse ; (4) and he makes it a great appropriation to his own gocd parts, that he can shoe hin himself; I am much afraid, my lady, his mother, play'd falle with a smith.
Ner. Then, there is the Count Palatine.
Por. He doth nothing but frown, as who should say, if you will not have me, chuse: 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!
(4) Ay, that's a Colt, indeed, for be doth nothing but talk of his borje ;] Tho' all the editions agree in this reading, I can perceive neither humouf, nor reasoning, in it: How does talking of horses, or knowing how to shoe them, make a man e'er the more a Colt? Or, if a Smith and a Lady of figure were to have an affair together, would a Colt be the issue of their careffes? This seems to me to be Portia's meaning. What do you tell me of the Neapolitan Prince ? be is Jurb a fupid dunce, that instead of saying fine tkiegs to me, be does fcrbing but talk of bis borses. The word, Delt, which I have substituted, fully answers this idea; and signifies one of the most flupid and blockifh of the vulgar : and in this acceptation it is used by our author, particularly, in the following passage of Othello.
Oh, Gull ! oh, Dolt!
Ner. How say you by the French Lord, Mounsieur Le Boun?
Por. God made him, and therefore let him pass for a man; in truth, I know, it is a fin 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 throfile fing, he falls strait a capering; he will fence with his own shadow; if I lhould 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 Italian; and you may come into the court and swear, that I have a poor pennyworth in the Englife. He is a proper man's picture, but alas ! who can converse with a dumb thow? how odly he is suited! I think, he bought his doublet in Italy, his round hose in France, his bonnet in Germany, and his behaviour
Ner. What think you of the Scottish lord, his neighbour? (5)
Por. That he hath a neighbourly charity in him ; for he borrow'd 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. (6)
of the Scottish lord, his neighbour ?] Thus the old 4to's and thus the poet certainly wrote. Mr. Pope takes notice of a various reading; (viz. What ibink you of the other lord which is in the first Folio;) but has not accounted for the reason of it, which was this, Our author exhibited this play in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, when there was no occasion for any restraint in satirizing the Scorch. But upon the accession of King James the Firft, the Union taking place, and the court swarming with people of that pation, the players, thro' a fear of giving disgust, thought fit to make this change.
(6) I ibink, the Frenchman became bis surety, and seal'd under for an-tber.] This was a severe sarcasm on the French nation; and, no Vol. II.
Ner. How like you the young German, 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 beit, he is a little worse than a man; and when he is worst, he is little better than a beaft; and the worst fall that ever fell, I hope, I shall make shift
without him. Ner. If he should offer to chuse, and chuse the right caset, you should refuse to perform your father's will, if you
should refuse to accept him.
pray thee, fet a deep glass of Rhenish wine on the contrary casket; for if the devil be within, and that temptation without, I know, he will chufe it. I will do any thing, Nerija, ere I will be marry'd to a spunge.
Ner. You need not fear, lady, the having any of these lords : they have acquainted me with their determinations, which is, indeed, to return to their home, ard to trouble you with no more suit; unless you may be won by some other sort than your father's imposition depending on the caskets.
Per. If I live to be as old as Sibylla, I will die as chafte as Diana, unless I be obtain’d by the manner of my father's wili: I am glad, this parcel of wooers are fo reasonable ; for there is not one among them but I doat
absence, and with them a fair departure. Ner. Do you not remeinber, lady, in your father's time, a Venetian, a scholar, and a soldier, that came hither in company of the Marqaifs of Mountferrat?
Por. Yes, yes, it was Bassanio, as I think, he was so call'd.
Ner. True, madam; he, of all the men that ever my foolifh eyes look'd upon, was the best deserving a fair lady. doubt, a very pleasing one to ihe audiences, when this play was first b:ought on. To make the Frenchman, jointly with the Scot, take a brix on the ear at the Englishman's hands, is very humoroufly, an: satirically, alluding to the constant affittance the French always used to give the Scots in their quarrels with ihe English, both in and before our author's time, and in which alliance, they generally came by the Horft of it.
Por. I remember him well, and I remember him worthy of thy praise. How now? what news ?
Enter a Servant. Ser. 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 farewel, I should be glad of his approach; if he have the condition of a saint, and the complexion of a devil, I had rather he should shrive me, than wive me. Come, Nerifa. Sirrah, go before ; while we fhat the gate upon one wooer, another knocks at the door.
SCENE, a publick Place in VENICE.
Enter Bafianio and Shylock.
Baj. Ay, Sir, for three months.
Bal. For the which, as I told you, Anthonio lhall be bound.
Shy. Anthonio shall become bound? well. Baf. May you stead me? will you pleasure "me? shall I know your answer ?
Shy. Three thousand ducats for three months, and Anthonio bound?
Bal. Your answer to that.
Shy. No, no, no, no; my meaning, in faying he is a good man, is to have you underitand me, that he is fufficient:
yet his means are in supposition: he hath an Argosy bound to Tripolis, another to the Indies ; I understand moreover upon the Ryalto, he hath a third at Mexico, a fourth for England; and other ventures he hath squander'd abroad. But fhips are but boards, sailors but men ; there be land-rats, and water-rats,