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I could not for my heart deny it him.
Por. You were to blame, I must be plain

with you,
To part so slightly with your wife's first gift;
A thing stuck on with oaths upon your finger,
And riveted so with faith. unto your flesh. .
I gave my love a ring, and made him swear
Never to part with it ; and here he stands;
I dare be sworn for him, he would not leave

it, Nor pluck it from his finger, for the wealth That the world masters. Now, in faith,

Gratiano, You give your wife too unkind a cause of

grief ; An 'twere to me, I should be mad at it. 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 i mine ; And neither man, nor master, would take 3. aught But the two rings.

Por. What ring gave you my lord ? Not that, I hope, which you received of me.

Bass. Bass. If I could add a lye unto 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 into your bed Until I see the ring. Ner.

Nor I in yours, Till I again see mine. [To Grātiano. 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 gave the ring, And how unwillingly I left the ring, You would abate the strength of your dis

. pleasure. Por. If you had known the virtue of the

ring, Or half her worthiness that gave the ring, Or your own honour to contain the ring, 8 You would not then have parted with the ring, What man is there so much unreasonable, If you had pleas'd to have defended it


8 contain-] The old copies concur in this reading. JOHNSON.

Retain, the reading silently introduced by modern editors for contain will be approved of by some, who may not observe in contain a retention of more strength. CAPELL.


With any terms of zeal, wanted the modesty
To urge the thing held as a ceremony ?9
Nerissa teaches me what to believe ;
l'll die for’t but some woman had the ring.
Bass. No, by mine honour, madam, by

my soul, No woman had it, but a civil doctor, Which did refuse three thousand ducats of me,'


Mr. Pope and the other modern editors read to retain, but contain might in our author's time, have had nearly the same meaning. The word has been already employed in this sense :

“ Cannot contain their urine for affection.” So also, in Montaigne's Essays, translated by Florio, 1603, b. 2, c. 3. “Why dost thou complaine against " this world? It doth not containe thee: if thou livest “ in paine and sorrow, thy base courage is the cause “ of it; to die there wanteth but will.” Again, in Bacon's Essaies, 4to, 1625, p. 327 : “ To containe “ anger from mischiefe, though it take hold of a ~ man, there be two things.” MALONE.

9 What man- wanted the modesty

To urge the thing held as a ceremony ?] This is a very licentious expression. The sense is, " What man could have so little modesty, or wanted “ modesty so much,” as to urge the demand of a thing kept on an account in some sort religious.

Johnson. Thus Calphurnia says to Julius Cæsar : “ Cæsar, I never stood on ceremonies.

STEEVENS. 1 Which did refuse three thousand ducats, &c.] This is the reading of the quartos, of Mr. Capell,


And begg'd the ring; the which I did deny

him, And suffer'd him to go displeasʼd away ; Even he that had held up the very life 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.


and the latest editions. Some former modern ones and that of 1785 had altered it tom " Who did “ refuse,” &c. E.

2 candles of the night,] We have again the same expression in one of our author's Sonnets, in Macbeth, and Romeo and Juliet. It likewise oci curs in Diella, Certaine Sonnets adjoyned to the amorous poeme of Dom Diego and Gineura, by R. L. 1596:

" He who can count the candles of the skie, “ Reckon the sands whereon Pactolus flows,” &c.

Malone. In some Saxon poetry preserved in Hickes's Thesaurus, (vol. I, p. 181,) the sun is called God's candle. So that this periphrasis for the stars, such a favourite with our poet, might have been an expression not grown obsolete in his days.


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 bed-fellow. Ner. And I his clerk ; therefore be well

advis’d, How you do leave me 'to mine own protec

tion, Gra. Well, do you so ; , let me not take

him then ; For, if I do, I'll mar the young clerk's pen. Anth. I am the unhappy subject of these

quarrels. Por. Sir, grieve not you; You are welcome

notwithstanding. Bass. Portia, forgive me this enforced

wrong ; And, in the hearing of these many friends,

I swear

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