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MERCHANT OF VENICE.

ACT I. SCENE I.

A Street in Venice. Enter ANTHONIO, SOLARINO, and SALANIO.

Anthonio.

N

I know not I am fo fad ::

It wearies me; you fay, it wearies you;
But how I caught it, found it, or came by it,
What ftuff 'tis made of, whereof it is born,
I am to learn:

And fuch a want-wit fadness makes of me,
That I have much ado to know myself.

Sal. Your mind is toffing on the ocean;
There, where your argofies[1] with portly fail-
Like figniors and rich burghers on the flood,
Or as it were the pageants of the fea-
Do over-peer the petty traffickers,
That curtfy to them, do them reverence,
As they fly by them with their woven wings,

Sola. Believe me, fir, had I fuch venture forth,
The better part of my affections would
Be with my hopes abroad. I fhould be ftill
Plucking the grafs,[2] to know where fits the wind;,
Prying in maps, for ports, and piers, and roads :
And every object, that might make me fear
Misfortune to my ventures, out of doubt,
Would make me fad.

Sal. My wind, cooling my broth,

Would blow me to an ague, when I thought

It was a name

[1] Whether it be derived from Argo, I am in doubt. given in our author's time to fhips of great burthen, probably galleons, fuch as the Spaniards now use in their Weft-India trade. JOHNS.

[2] By holding up the grafs, or any light body that will bend by a gentle blast, the direction of the wind is found." This way I ufed in fhooting. Betwixt the markes was an open place, there I take a fethere, or a lytle graffe, and fo learned how the wind ftood." Afcham. JOHNS,

What harm a wind too great might do at fea.
I fhould not fee the fandy hour-glafs run,
But I fhould think of fhallows, and of flats;
And fee my wealthy Andrew[3] dock'd in fand,
Vailing her high top lower than her ribs
To kifs her burial. Should I go to church,
And fee the holy edifice of stone,

And not bethink me ftraight of dangerous rocks?
Which, touching but my gentle veffel's fide,
Would scatter all her fpices on the ftream;
Enrobe the roaring waters with my filks;
And, in a word, but even now worth this,
And now worth nothing. Shall I have the thought
To think on this, and fhall I lack the thought,
That fuch a thing, bechanc'd, would make me sad ?
But, tell not me; I know, Anthonio

Is fad to think upon his merchandizę.

Anth. Believe me, no: I thank my fortune for it My ventures are not in one bottom trufted, Nor to one place; nor is my whole eftate Upon the fortune of this prefent year: Therefore my merchandize makes me not fad, Sola. Why then you are in love.

Anth. Fie, fie!

Sola. Not in love neither? Then let's fay, you are fad,

Because you are not merry: and 'twere as easy
For you to laugh, and leap, and fay you are merry,
Because you are not fad. Now, by two-headed Janus,[4]
Nature hath fram'd strange fellows in her time:
Some that will evermore peep through their eyes,[5]
And laugh, like parrots, at a bag-piper;
And other of fuch vinegar-afpect,

That they'll not fhew their teeth in way of fmile,[6] Though Neftor fwear the jeft be laughable.

[3] The name of the fhip. JOHNS.

[4] Here Shakespeare thews his knowledge in the antique. By Twoheaded Janus is meant thofe antique bifrontine heads, which generally reprefent a young and fmiling face, together with an old and wrinkled one, being of Pan and Bacchus; of Saturn and Apollo, &c. These are not uncommon in collections of antiques: and in the books of the antiquaries, as Montfaucon, Spanheim, &c. WARB.

[5] This gives us a very picturesque image of the countenance in laughing, when the eyes appear half fhut.

WARB.

[6] Because fuch are apt enough to fhew their teeth in anger. WARE.

Enter BASSANIO, LORENZO, and GRATIANO.

Sal. Here comes Baffanio, your most noble kinfman, Gratiano, and Lorenzo: Fare you well: We leave you now with better company.

Sola. I would have ftaid till I had made you merry, If worthier friends had not prevented me.

Anth. Your worth is very dear in my regard.
I take it, your own bufinefs calls on you,
And you embrace the occafion to depart.
Sal. Good-morrow, my good lords.

Baff. Good figniors both, when shall we laugh? fay, when?

You grow exceeding ftrange; must it be fo?

Sal. We'll make our leifures to attend on yours. Sola. My lord Baffanio, fince you have found Anthonio, We two will leave you; but, at dinner-time, I pray you have in mind where we muft meet.

Baff. I will not fail you.

[Exeunt SAL. and SOLA. Gra. You look not well, fignior Anthonio; You have too much refpect upon the world : They lose it, that do buy it with much care. Believe me, you are marvelloufly chang'd.

Anth. I hold the world but as the world, Gratiano; A ftage, where every man must play his part; And mine a fad one.

Gra. Let me play the fool [7]

With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come;
And let my liver rather heat with wine,
Than my heart cool with mortifying groans.
Why fhould a man, whofe blood is warm within,
Sit like his grandfire cut in alabaster?

Sleep when he wakes, and creep into the jaundice
By being peevith? I tell thee what, Anthonio,
(I love thee, and it is my love that fpeaks),
There are a fort of men, whose visages

Do cream and mantle, like a ftanding pond :
And do a wilful ftillness entertain,
With purpose to be dreft in an opinion
Of wisdom, gravity, profound conceit;

[7] Alluding to the common comparison of human life to a ftage-play. So that he defires his may be the fool's or buffoon's part, which was a con ftant character in the old farces: from whence came the phrafe, To play the fool. WARB.

As who fhould fay, I am Sir Oracle,
And when I ope my lips, let no dog bark!
O, my Anthonio, I do know of those,
That therefore only are reputed wise,
For faying nothing; who, I am very fure,
If they fhould fpeak, would almost damn thofe cars,
Which, hearing them, would call their brothers fools.
I'll tell thee more of this another time:
But fifh not, with this melancholy bait,
For this fool's gudgeon, this opinion.-
Come, good Lorenzo :-Fare ye well a while;
I'll end my exhortation after dinner.[8]

Lor. Well, we will leave you then till dinner-time.
I must be one of thefe fame dumb wife men,
For Gratiano never lets me speak.

Gra. Well, keep me company but two years more,
Thou shalt not know the found of thine own tongue.
Anth. Farewel: I'll grow a talker for this gear.
Gra. Thanks, 'faith; for filence is only commendable
In a neat's tongue dry'd, and a maid not vendible.
[Exeunt GRA. and LOREN.

Anth. Is that any thing now?

Bal. Gratiano fpeaks an infinite deal of nothing, more than any man in all Venice : His reasons are as two grains of wheat hid in two bufhels of chaff; you fhall feek all day ere you find them; and when you have them, they are not worth the fearch.

Anth. Well; tell me now, what lady is the fame,
To whom you fwore a fecret pilgrimage,
That you to-day promis'd to tell me of?

Baff. 'Tis not unknown to you, Anthonio,
How much I have disabled mine estate,
By fhewing fomething a more swelling port
Than my faint means would grant continuance ;
Nor do I now make moan to be abridg'd
From fuch a noble rate: but my chief care
Is to come fairly off from the great debts,
Wherein my time, fomething too prodigal,
Hath left me gag'd: To you, Anthonio,
I owe the moft, in money, and in love;
And from your love I have a warranty

the puritan preachers of thof tedious, were often forced to Exhortation, till after dinner.

[8] T humour of this confifts in its being an allufion to the practice of times; who being generally very long and put off that part of their fermon called the WARB.

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To unburthen all my plots, and purposes,
How to get clear of all the debts I owe.

Anth. I pray you, good Baffanio, let me know it;
And, if it ftand, as you yourfelf ftill do,
Within the eye of honour, be affur'd,
My purfe, my perfon, my extremest means,
Lie all unlock'd to your occafions.

Baff. In my fchool-days, when I had loft one fhaft,
I fhot his fellow of the felf-fame flight
The felf-fame 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 loft: but if you please
To fhoot another arrow that self way
Which you did fhoot 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 reft debtor for the firft.

Anth. You know me well; and herein spend but time,
To wind about my love with circumftance;
And, out of doubt, you do me now more wrong,
In making queftion of my uttermoft,
Than if you had made waste of all I have :
Then do but fay to me what I should do,
That in your knowledge may by me be done,
And I am preft into it: therefore, fpeak.

Baff In Belmont is a lady richly left,
And the is fair, and fairer than that word,
Of wondrous virtues; fometime from her eyes:
I did receive fair fpeechlefs messages:
Her name is Portia ; nothing undervalu'd
To Cato's daughter, Brutus' Portia.

Nor is the wide world ignorant of her worth;
For the four winds blow in from every coaft
Renowned fuitors and her funny locks
Hang on her temples like a golden fleece;
Which makes her feat of Belmont, Colchos' ftrand,
And many Jafons come in queft of her.
O, my Anthonio, had I but the means
To hold a rival place with one
I have a mind prefages me fuch thrift,
That I fhould queftionless be fortunate.

them,

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