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- rare fortune! here comes the man; to him father; for I am a Jew, if I serve the Jew any longer. Enter Bassanio, with Leonardo,
and other followers. Bass. You may do so ;- but let it be so hasted, that supper be ready at the farthest by five of the clock : See these letters delivered ; put the liveries to making ; and desire Gratiano to come anon to my lodging. [Exit a Servant.
Laun. To him, father.
Bass. Gramercy;? would'st thou aught with me ? Gob. Here's my son, sir, à poor boy,
Laun. Not a poor boy, sir, but the rich Jew's man ; that would, sir, as my father shall specify,
Gob. He bath a great infection, sir, as one would say, to serve
Laun. Indeed, the short and the long is, I serve the Jew, and I have a desire, as my father shall specify, Gob. His master and he, (saving your wor
7 Gramercy;] An obsolete expression of surprise, contracted from “ Grant me mercy.” Johns. Dict.
Well said, thank you ; properly, great thanks. French, “ Grand merci." *CAPELL'S GLOSSARY.
ship's reverence) are scarce cater-cousins. 8
Laun. To be brief, the very truth is, that the Jew having done me wrong, doth cause me, as my father, being I hope an old man, shall frutify unto you,
Gob, I have here a dish of doves, that I would bestow upon your worship; and my suit is,
Laun. In very brief, the suit is impertinent to myself, as your worship shall know by this honest old man ;9 and, though I say it, though old man, yet, poor man, my father.
Bass. One speak for both ;-What would
Laun. Serve you, sir.
thy suit: : Shylock, thy master, spoke with me this day,
8 are scarce cater-cousins.] Cater-cousin ; a corruption of quatre-cousin, from the ridiculousness of calling cousin, or relation, to so remote a degree.
Johns. Dict. 9 as your worship shall know by this honest old man; &c.] Launcelot, either through folly or archness, is every now and then making such transpositions as produce something very little short of nonsense. This speech, reduced to a rational order of the words, would stand thus, “—as your worship “ shall know by this poor old man; and, though I " say it, though poor man, yet, honest man, my ** father.” E.
And hath preferr'd thee; if it be preferment,
Laun. The old proverb is very well parted between my master Shylock and yoli, sir; you. have the grace of God, sir, and he hath enough. Bass. Thou speak’st it well : Go, father,
with thy son ; Take leave of thy old master, and enquire My lodging out :-give him a livery
[To his followers. More guarded 1 than his fellows; see it done.
Laun. Father, in :I cannot get a service, no ; I have ne'er á tongue in my head. Well ; [Looking on his palni] if any man in Italy have a fairer table, which doth offer to swear upon a book, 2-I shall have no good for
i More guarded) i. e. more ornamented. So, in Solyman and Perseda, 1599 :
« Piston. But is there no reward for my false dice? “ Erastus. Yes, Sir, a guarded suit from top to toe.” Again, in Albumazar, 1615 :
“- turn my plough-boy Dick to two
“ guarded footmen.” STEEVENS. 2 Well; if any man in Italy have a fairer table, which doth offer to swear upon a book.] Launcelot speaks this, looking on his hand : for the hand must be uncovered when a person takes an oath upon the Bible. The break is easily supplied, and instances of the like nature frequently occur. Upton.
tune ;-Go to, here's a simple line of life ! here's a small trifle of wives: alas, fifteen wives is nothing ; eleven widows, and nine maids, is a simple coming-in for one man : and then, to 'scape drowning thrice; and to be in peril of my life with the edge of a feather-bed ;3
Table is the palm expanded. Launcelot congratulates himself upon his dexterity and good fortune, and, in the height of his rapture, inspects his hand, and congratulates himself upon the felicities in his table. The act of expanding his hand puts him in mind of the action in which the palm is shewn, by raising it to lay it on the book, in judicial attestations. “ Well,” says hé, “ if any man in Italy have a fairer “ table, that doth offer to swear upon a book.”_ Here he stops with an abruptness very common, and proceeds to particulars. Johnson.
Dr. Johnson's explanation thus far appears to me perfectly just. In support of it, it should be remembered, that which is frequently used by our author and his contemporaries, for the personal pronoun, who. It is still so used in our Liturgy. In The Merry Wives of Windsor, Mrs. Quickly addresses Fenton in the same language as is here used by Launcelot :“ I'll be sworn on a book she loves you :" a vulgarism that is now superseded by another of the same import- _“I'll take my Bible-oath of it.” MALONE.
With respect to the disputed construction of this passage, and for a defence of the emendation admitted into the text, see Appendix. E.
3 — in peril of my life with the edge of a feather-bed;] A cant phrase to signify the danger of marrying. A certain French writer uses the same kind of figure, “ O mon Ami, j'aimerois “ mieux étre tombée sur la point d'un Oreiller, & s m'être rompû le Cou." WARBURTON.
here are simple 'scapes ! Well, if fortune be a woman, she's a good wench for this geer.tr Father, come ; I'll take my leave of the Jew in the twinkling of an eye.
[Exeunt Launcelot and old Gobbo. Bass. I pray thee, good Leonardo, think on
this; These things being bought, and orderly be
stow'd, Return in haste, for I do feast to-night My best-esteem’d acquaintance; hie thee, go. Leon. My best endeavours shall be done
Enter Gratiano. Gra. Where is your master ? Leon. Yonder, sir, he walks.
(Exit Leonardo. Gra. Signior Bassanio, Bass.
You have obtain'd it.
4 she's a good wench for this geer.] Dr. Johnson in the Dictionary, as has been already remarked, gives stuff as one of the senses of this word, from the authority of Hanmer, and, as an example, quotes this passage, to which it appears not to be by any means applicable : The signification mentioned as, seemingly, the most natural upon a former occasion, would likewise be extremely suitable upon this. E.