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Gra. You must not deny me; I must go
with you to Belmont, Bass. Why, then you must ;-But hear
thee, Gratiano ; Thou art too wild, too rude, and bold of
voice; Parts, that become thee happily enough, And in such eyes as ours appear not faults ; But where thou art not known, why, there
Signior Bassanio, hear me : If I do not put on a sober habit,?
5 Something too liberal ;] Liberal I have already shewn to be mean, gross, coarse, licentious,
JOHNSON, So, in Othello : • Is he not a most profane and to liberal counsellor ;” STEEVENS.
6 allay with some cold drops of modesty, &c.] So in Hamlet :
“ Upon the heat and flame of thy distemper
“ Sprinkle cool patience.” Idem., 7 put on a sober habit, 8c.] Habit, I imagine, is here to be understood as conduct, bez naviour, &c. E.
Talk with respect, and swear but now and
then, Wear prayer-books in my pocket, look de
murely ; Nay more, while grace is saying, hood mine
eyes 8 Thus with my hat, and sigh, and say, Amen; Use all the observance of civility, Like one well studied in a sad ostent 9 To please his grandam, never trust me more. Bass. Well, we shall see your bearing."
8- hood mine eyes] Alluding to the manner of covering a hawk's eyes. So, in the Tragedy of Cræsus, 1604:
“ And like a hooded hawk,” &c. STEEVENS, 9_ sad ostent] Grave appearance; shew of staid and serious behaviour. Johnson.
Ostent is a word very commonly used for show among the old dramatic writers. So, in Heywood's Iron Age, 1632 :
you in those times “ Did not affect ostent.” Again, in Chapman's translation of Homer, edit. 1598, b. vi.
66 did bloodie vapours raine
your bearing.) Bearing is carriage, deportment. So, in Twelfth-night : “ Take and give back affairs, and their dispatch With such a smooth, discreet and stable bearing.”
Gra. Nay, but I bar to-night; you shall
not gage me 2 By what we do to-night. Bass.
No, that were pity ; I would entreat you rather to put on Your boldest suit of nirth, 3 for we have
friends That purpose merriment: But fare you well, I have some business.
Gra. And I must to Lorenzo, and the rest; But we will visit you at supper-time.
2 you shall not gage me, &c.] You shall not estimate what I am capable of: To gage is “ to measure; to take the contents of any vessel; of liquids particularly,” according to Dr. Johnson's definition. E.
3 Your boldest suit of mirth,] A metaphorical allusion, it is probable, to that part of Gratiano's speech just before ;
“If I do not put on a sober habit,” &c. and seeming to confirm the sense in which that line has been explained. E.
A Room in Shylock's House..
Enter Jessica and Launcelot.
Our house is hell, and thou, a merry devil,
Laun. Adieu !-tears exhibit my tongue. Most beautiful pagan,-most sweet Jew! if a Christian did not play the knave, and get
* Scene II. In former editions, Scene 3.—The time is a part of the same day, and may be supposed to follow shortly after that of the preceding. Launcelot in that, upon being taken into Bassanio's service, had been desired by him to “ go, and take leave of “ his old master ;" He now appears with Jessica in Shylock's house, and, no doubt, comes there for that purpose. E.
1 tears exhibit my tongue.] My tears serve to express what my tongue should, if sorrow would permit it. E.
thee,2 I am much deceiv'd: but adieu! these foolish drops do somewhat drown my manly spirit; adieu!
[Erit. Jes. Farewell, good Launcelot. Alack, what heinous sin is it in me, To be asham'd to be my father's child !
2 If a Christian do not play the knave, and get thee, &c.] “ If a Christian” (says Launcelot, on receiving a love-letter for Lorenzo)“ do not play the “ knave, and carry thee away from thy father's “ house, I am much deceived." I should not have attempted to explain so easy a passage, if the ignorant editor of the second folio, thinking probably the word get must necessarily mean beget, had not altered the text, and substituted did in the place of do, the reading of all the old and authentic editions ; in which he has been copied by every subsequent editor. Launcelot is not talking about Jessica's father, but about her future husband. I am aware that, in a subsequent Scene, he says to Jessica, “ Marry, you may partly hope your father “ got you not ;" but he is now on another subject.
MALONE. From the general censure expressed in the preceding note I take leave to exempt Mr. Reed; who, by following the first folio, was no sharer in the inexpiable guilt of the second. Steevens.
Of modern editions the reading of the original copies, which I conceive to have been erroneous, was, there is reason to believe, first introduced into that conducted by Mr. Reed, and published in 1785.
With all due respect to the accuracy of Mr. Malone's taste in points of this nature, I cannot help being of opinion that, whatever general ignorance