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The motions of his spirit are dull as night,
Enter Portia and Nerissa, at a distance.
Ner. It is your musick, madam, of the house.
Por. Nothing is good, I see, without respect; Methinks, it sounds much sweeter than by day.
Ner. Silence bestows that virtue on it, madam.
Por. The crow doth sing as sweetly as the lark, When neither is attended; and, I think, The nightingale, if she should sing by day, When every goose is cackling, would be thought No better a musician than the wren. How many things by season season'd are To their right praise, and true perfection! Peace, hoa! the moon sleeps with Endymion, And would not be awak'd!
[Musick ceases. Lor.
That is the voice, Or I am much deceiv'd, of Portia. Por. He knows me, as the blind man knows the
cuckoo, By the bad voice. Lor.
Dear lady, welcome home.
7 without respect;] Not absolutely good, but relatively good as it is modified by circumstances.
Por. We have been praying for our husbands'
Madam, they are not yet;
Go in, Nerissa,
A tuckets sounds. Lor. Your husband is at hand, I hear his trumpet: We are no tell-tales, madam; fear you not. Por. This night, methinks, is but the daylight
sick, It looks a little paler; 'tis a day, Such as the day is when the sun is hid.
Enter BASSANIO, ANTONIO, GRATIANO, and their
Followers. Bass. We should hold day with the Antipodes, If you would walk in absence of the sun.
Por. Let me give light, but let me not be light; For a light wife doth make a heavy husband, And never be Bassanio so for me; But God sort all!-You are welcome home, my lord. Bass. I thank you, madam: give welcome to my
friend. This is the man, this is Antonio, To whom I am so infinitely bound. Por. You should in all sense be much bound to
• A tucket-] Toccata, Ital. a flourish on a trumpet.
9 Let me give light, &c.] There is scarcely any word with which Shakspeare so much delights to trifle as with light, in its various significations. Johnson.
For, as I hear, he was much bound for you.
Ant. No more than I am well acquitted of.
Por. Sir, you are very welcome to our house: It must appear in other ways than words, Therefore, I scant this breathing courtesy.'
[GRATIANO and NERISSA seem to talk apart. Gra. By yonder moon, I swear, you do me wrong; In faith, I gave it to the judge's clerk: Would he were gelt that had it, for my part, Since you do take it, love, so much at heart.
Por. A quarrel, ho, already? what's the matter? Gra. About a hoop of gold, a paltry ring That she did give me; whose posy was For all the world, like cutler's poetry? Upon a knife, Love me, and leave me not.
Ner. What talk you of the posy, or the value? You swore to me, when I did give it you, That you would wear it till your hour of death; And that it should lie with you in your grave: Though not for me, yet for your vehement oaths, You should have been respective, and have kept it. Gave it a judge's clerk!—but well I know, The clerk will ne'er wear hair on his face, that had it. Gra. He will, an if he live to be a man. Ner. Ay, if a woman live to be a man. Gra. Now, by this hand, I gave it to a youth, A kind of boy; a little scrubbed boy, No higher than thyself, the judge's clerk; A prating boy, that begg'd it as a fee; I could not for my heart deny it him. Por. You were to blame, I must be plain with
I- this breathing courtesy. ] This verbal complimentary form, made up only of breath, i. e. words.
? — like culler's poetry-] Knives, as Sir J. Hawkins observes, were formerly inscribed, by means of aqua fortis, with short sentences in distich.
To part so slightly with your wife's first gift;
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 mine: And neither man, nor master, would take aught But the two rings. Por.
What ring gave you, my lord? Not that, I hope, which you receivid of me.
Bass. If I could add a lie unto a fault,
Por. Even so void is your false heart of truth.
Nor I in yours,
Por. If you had known the virtue of the ring,
Or your own honour to contain the ring,
Bass. No, by mine honour, madam, by my soul,
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 bedfellow.
Ner. And I his clerk; therefore be well advis'd, How you do leave me to mine own protection.
Gra. Well, do you so: let not me take him then; For, if I do, I'll mar the young clerk's pen,